December 15, 2022

Unequal Futures: In Florida, poorer communities fund scholarships for wealthier kids

Leslie Postal and Annie Martin write:

"'The kids hit the jackpot this year.'

That’s how then-Gov. Lawton Chiles described Bright Futures, the Florida Lottery-funded scholarship program, when it became law 25 years ago. But that jackpot’s prizes aren’t paid out equally.

An Orlando Sentinel investigation found that Bright Futures’ benefits go disproportionately to students from more affluent areas and mostly bypass students living in poorer neighborhoods — the same neighborhoods where higher lottery ticket sales provide much of Bright Futures’ money.


[Holly] Bullard [emphasis added] is among those who have advocated for changes to Bright Futures over the years. Some have suggested adding a need-based component to the program or offsetting the state’s Bright Futures investment with more money for need-based programs.

Bullard said she would support a sliding-scale system that would allow students with very high GPAs to get Bright Futures with lower SAT or ACT scores."


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