Christian Portilla/Contributing Writer
Although the numbers won’t be determined until the amount of incoming freshmen students has been accounted for at FIU, because of increased test scores, less students will be awarded Bright futures.
Bright Futures, funded through the Florida Lottery, has been helping students receive a more affordable education since its inception in 1997. Oddly enough, the same minorities who play the Florida Lottery will be the ones to reap less of its benefits.
The decrease in awards being disbursed to students was so alarming that it prompted an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights as explained by The Miami Herald. Most of the students being affected by the increase in test scores are Hispanic and Black, many of who attend FIU and combined make up for most of the South Florida demographic .
“We are predicting a 50% reduction in Bright Futures eligible incoming freshman from last year at this point due to the increased test score requirements,” said Francisco Valines, director of the office of Financial Aid in an e-mail to Student Media.
Bright Futures has raised the academic bar in terms of eligibility for students.
An increase in test scores means that students must attain in reading and math 1170 on the SAT and 26 on the ACT in order to qualify for the Florida Medallion Scholars award and 1290 / 29 for the Florida Academic Scholars award for the 2014-2015 school year.
These numbers will remain the same for the upcoming academic year.
Currently, students who achieve the basic-level Bright Futures Scholarship, also known as Florida Medallion Scholars, are awarded $77 per credit hour, while students who earn the more difficult Florida Academic Scholars award receive $103 per credit hour, which has remained the same since last year.
This amount has increased since the 2012-2013 school year when the Medallion was at $75 per credit hour and $100 for the Academic Scholars.
Updates in the program no longer require students to submit Free Application for Federal Student Aid, however; students are encouraged to submit the FAFSA to learn of potential eligibility for additional state and federal aid.