Democrats Propose Sunshine Scholarship Program for Florida College System, Career Center Students

With higher education costs increasingly a concern across the nation, two legislators from Florida are looking to expand college scholarships for eligible students in Florida College System schools and career centers.

State Sen. Oscar Branyon, D-Miami Gardens, and Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, brought out a proposal this week to create the “Sunshine Scholarship Program” which would “provide funding for 100 percent of tuition and fees for Florida residents pursuing an associate degree or career certificate from eligible postsecondary institutions, including Florida College System institutions, career centers operated by school districts, and charter technical career centers.”

The two Democrats offered some of the details on their proposal and who would qualify for the program.

“The program will have certain eligibility requirements, including a maximum total annual household income of $50,000. Recipients will also be required to maintain continuous enrollment as a full-time student with a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.5/4.0. To ensure retention of the trained students, the bill stipulates that the student must reside and work in Florida for the same period that they receive funding from the program, with some exceptions,” Jones’ office noted.

“As a state that touts itself as one that puts people to work, it’s important that we be both attentive to businesses coming to our state as well as to the people seeking higher earning power through their education and workforce development,” Jones said on Wednesday. “We have a role to play in alleviating the student debt crisis that burdens so many families and students entering the workforce. This bill puts Florida on a path toward true economic development and prosperity.”

“I’m proud to bring this bill forward,” said Braynon. “As legislators, it is our job to create opportunities for the people of Florida. There is no greater investment in Florida than the education of its people and the expansion of the workforce. The Sunshine Scholarship Program will help create a strong workforce, it will help us recruit new businesses to Florida, it will create a pathway to financial freedom for families, and it will contribute to the retention of talent in our state.”

The bill will have a hard time garnering momentum in the GOP controlled Legislature.


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