House higher ed bill more lenient than Senate in grad-rate standards
TALLAHASSEE -- A Florida House committee on Monday endorsed its version of a higher-education reform bill, including expanding Bright Futures scholarships and requiring state universities to begin using “block” tuition.
The bill (HB 3), sponsored by Rep. Bryan Avila, R-Hialeah, is the House’s answer to Senate President Joe Negron’s effort (SB 2) to elevate Florida’s higher-education system by increasing scholarship opportunities, tightening performance standards for state colleges and universities and encouraging more students to graduate on time. The Senate bill passed 35-1 in the first week of the legislative session.
The House and Senate bills are similar, but the House is taking a different direction on a number of issues.
Both bills would expand the top-level Bright Futures award for “academic scholars” to cover full tuition and fees for those students who qualify for the merit-based aid. It would also provide $300 for the fall and spring semesters for textbooks and other costs.