South Florida Times: “Jones’ Scholarship Legislation Passes First House Committee”

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Last week, a bill that will make higher education more affordable for Floridians unanimously passed Florida’s Post-Secondary Education Subcommittee.

Proposed by Representative Shevrin Jones (D-West Park), the bill which is officially known as HB 181 will establish the “Florida Sunshine Scholarship Program.”

Under a strike-all amendment presented by Jones and adopted by the subcommittee, the program would be open to Florida residents with annual household incomes of less than $50,000 who commit to being full-time students by taking the equivalent of twelve credit hours each semester.

For eligible students, the scholarship would cover 100% of tuition and fees for those seeking an associate degree or career certificate at any Florida College System institution, career center operated by a school district or charter technical career center.

Students within the program must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA to continue receiving the scholarship.

Upon graduation, recipients must reside or work in Florida for the same amount of time they received the scholarship or they will have to reimburse the state, with interest, for the total amount of aid received.

This requirement would be waived for those enlisting in the Armed Forces or delayed for those who stay continuously enrolled in a baccalaureate degree program at another Florida postsecondary institution.

“For too many born into hardship, the idea of a college education or vocational training that could lead to economic security is out of reach,” Jones said. “’The Sunshine Scholarship Program’ will ensure that those seeking to break the cycle of generational poverty can get a head start on a bachelor’s degree or the career-based training they need to get a good-paying job in the economy of the future. I want to thank Chair Porter, Speaker Corcoran and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for working with me on this legislation to make higher education a reality for every Floridian.”

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