By Brenda Dickinson, Home Education Foundation
New changes to Bright Futures scholarship program will benefit homeschoolers in several ways. Late Friday afternoon, HB 793 passed out of the Senate and will now be sent to the Governor for his signature. The Governor has 7 or 15 days to make a decision on signing the bill depending on when it reaches his desk. So, we will know soon if the changes to the Bright Futures Scholarships become law.
The passage of SB 793 will make the Medallion test scores for all students, including home education students, the same test scores at 1170 SAT or 26 for ACT. The current language requiring home education students to make a higher test score if the parent could not document the 16 required courses will be stricken from law.
New Bright Futures Scholarship Created
The bill also creates a new scholarship, the Florida Gold Seal CAPE Scholars award. This scholarship will allow a home education student who earns a minimum of 5 postsecondary credit hours through CAPE industry certifications and who completes at least 30 hours of volunteer service work to qualify for this scholarship.
The bill also expands the areas of community service to include work for a business or governmental internship, work for a nonprofit community service organization, or activities on behalf of a candidate for public office. HEF is really excited about this expansion because it could help students learn about our government and get to know candidates and their values first hand.
It also allows a student who is unable to accept an initial Bright Futures award immediately after completion of high school due to a full-time religious or service obligation lasting at least 18 months to begin the 2-years eligibility period for his or her initial award and the 5-year renewal period upon the completion of his or her religious or service obligation.
This is a real victory for home education students. Parents, if you have not sent an email or note of thanks to Sen. Tom Lee and Rep. Marlene O’Toole for their great work please do so now.
Sen. Tom Lee’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rep. Marlene O’Toole email: email@example.com