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Florida’s lottery-funded scholarship program, Bright Futures, has helped more than 600,000 students attend Florida colleges, according to the Florida Lottery website.
But the wide eligibility is about to be trimmed with new guidelines aimed to keep the program afloat. The changes are scheduled to take effect July 1, 2013.
Under the new criteria, high school seniors graduating at the end of the 2013-2014 school year will have to score an 1170 on the SAT and a 26 on the ACT. The current scores for eligibility are 1020 on the SAT and 22 on the ACT.
The heightened standardized test score requirements will reduce the number of students eligible for Bright Futures’ financial assistance, particularly minority students.
According to a study from the University of South Florida, trends in previous test scores show that the new criteria will most harm Hispanic and black students.
The Florida College Access Network, a statewide network that aims to improve college preparation, access and completion, issued a press release from the study’s findings.
In fall 2012, between 7,000 and 7,500 Hispanic freshmen met requirements for Bright Futures. Under the new criteria, between 2,700 and 3,000 would be eligible in fall 2014, a drop of more than 60 percent.