DeSantis Expands Bright Futures Scholarship Eligibility for Disadvantaged Florida Students

By Lydia Nusbaum, Florida's Voice

June 27, 2022 Updated 12:16 PM ET

DeSantis Education Twitter

June 27, 2022 Updated 11:00 A.M. ET

TAMPA (FLV) – Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Monday that will expand eligibility for working students to apply for scholarships through the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program. 

The Bright Futures Scholarship Program provides scholarships to students based on high school academic achievement. The scholarship program requires students to volunteer a certain amount of hours throughout the week. 

“Not every student has the luxury of being able to just do volunteer hours,” DeSantis said. “They should not be denied the opportunity to qualify for a scholarship just because their socioeconomic background makes it more difficult to qualify.”

The new law allows high school students working a job to use those hours in lieu of volunteer hours. The student would need to provide documentation of 100 hours of paid work approved by school officials. 

“What we don’t want is to take a scholarship and make it out of the reach of a student just because of their family circumstances,” DeSantis said.  

Blake Dellenback, a high school senior, spoke at the press conference. He has worked at his family’s ice cream shop for three years. 

“But it also does not give me that much time to do community service,” he said. “Although I do get involved in my community, a lot of my time is spent either doing my schoolwork or at the shop.”

Dellenback said the new law “means the world to him” as he hopes to attend the University of Florida. 

“So this just opens up new opportunities for me that I just can’t even imagine,” he continued. “So thank you very much.”

Senate President Wilton Simpson said as one who grew up on a farm, this would have benefited him out of high school. 

“It was something that’s very important to this legislature and governor to make sure that we’re rewarding people who have to work for a living or who choose to work for a living,” Simpson said.

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