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Florida Senate bill proposes changes to student financial aid to certain majors that 'don't lead directly to employment'

Students in some majors would have their state grants reduced or eliminated.
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mini graduation cap on US money -- education costs

TAMPA, Fla — A bill in the Florida Senate would cut the amount of Bright Futures Scholarship money some college students receive.

SB 86, filed by Republican Sen. Dennis Baxley of Ocala, would require the grants to be re-evaluated each semester, and would limit funding for certain majors that don't lead "directly to employment."

According to the bill, the Board of Governors and the State Board of Education would meet annually to approve which career certificate, undergraduate and graduate degree programs are eligible for full funding and which are not. Students studying fields that are not on the list would receive reduced funding for up to 60 credit hours of coursework.

Currently, students in any major must maintain a 2.75 GPA to receive Florida Medallion Scholar funding, or a 3.0 to qualify for Florida Academic Scholar funding. All students funded full-time must take 12 or more credit hours per semester.

Republicans in the legislature say the changes are a way for the state to cut back on spending. According to an annual report from the Florida Department of Education, state grants and scholarships totaled almost $1 billion for the 2018-19 academic year.

The Florida Lottery funds the Bright Futures Scholarship Program. It has awarded more than $6.2 billion to students since 1997.

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