Putting Education Reform To The Test

More Than Half of Black and Hispanic Students Will No Longer Qualify For Bright Futures Scholarships


More than half of Florida’s Hispanic and black students at state universities currently eligible for the state’s Bright Futures college scholarship would no longer qualify when new standards take effect on July 1, according to a University of South Florida analysis obtained by the Florida College Access Network.

By comparison, about 40 percent of white and Asian students at state universities would no longer be eligible for the scholarship.

The minimum SAT and ACT scores required to be eligible for the merit-based scholarships is increasing. The new standards would only apply to those seeking the scholarship for the first time, and not for those renewing the scholarship. The analysis is based on State University System data for students enrolling in college for the first time in summer/fall 2010 and summer/fall 2011.

Students graduating in the spring of 2014 would have to score 1170 on the SAT or 26 on the ACT and maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average. Currently, students have to score 1020 on the SAT or 22 on the ACT while maintaining a 3.0 GPA.

“We believe all students can rise and meet high academic standards,” Braulio Colon, executive director of the Florida College Access Network said in a statement, “but the current scheduled increase in eligibility requirements for this important scholarship program is a dramatic jump that jeopardizes access for thousands of college-going students and relies too heavily on standardized test scores for measuring academic merit.”

Florida C.A.N. underwrites StateImpact Florida’s coverage.

According to the analysis, 87 percent of Hispanic freshmen met the current standards. About one-third would qualify under the new standards.

About half of black freshmen qualified for scholarships in 2012. Just one in eight would qualify under the new standards.

Less than one-quarter of the freshmen enrolling at Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, Florida A&M University, Florida Gulf Coast University and the University of West Florida would be eligible under the new standards.

The Florida College Access Network wants a sliding scale for SAT and ACT requirements. The higher a student’s grade point average, the lower the required score on the SAT and ACT.

For instance, a student with a 4.0 GPA would need to score at least 980 on the SAT or 21 on the ACT. A student with a 3.0 GPA would need to score at least 1210 on the SAT and 27 on the ACT.

The group would also like the scholarships to consider financial need when issuing awards.


  • DataMan

    Hooray for higher standards for getting public assistance! Students with an ACT of 21 have no business going to a 4-year college, anyway; they are only very slightly above the national average. Most are not college ready and will spend their first year (or longer) doing remedial work. Most will not graduate. Why waste their time and our money? Direct them to vocational or technical education where they can learn to support a family. Students with an ACT of 26 are in the top 17% of students nationally and are usually college ready. These are the kids that will graduate and use their subsidized education to good effect for our society.

    • Dr. Peterson

      Some comment are not based the current status of what is going on in education. Having been a a high school counselor for ten plus years, I’ve seen several students that do not have a 26 on the SAT graduate from college with honors. Even if a student does extremely well on the SAT or ACT (standardized test), that does not equate to them doing well in college or in a career. Standardized test also do not measure a student willingness, interest, and ability given a particular career choice. I can see rasing the test score to a 22, but not a 26. I can also see that if a student does well in class, for instance a student with a 3.25 or higher in academic core, could be placed on a sliding scale standarized test score, if they have taken college ready courses in high school. Believe it or not, some students are not good test takers, but do well academicially in high school, in college and are great students. In addition, it is a given, many minority students do not do well on standardized test, but do well in the classroom and if taught, will continue to excel in higher education. So, do not hinder their pursuit of the American Dream. With that said, I contend, students who have shown they can do well in the classroom and throughout their academic years in secondary education, should be given the opportunity at a higher education. Until public education is without fault, in providing high quality education to all students, that meets the learning styles of all students, we can not deny students that want to go to college access the opportunity to do so.

      • Reality

        “Some comment are not based the current status of what is going on in education.”

        No. The comments actually are based on the current status of what is going on in education. Education is the new junk bond. It has turned into a fraud benefiting educators.

        What education needs is a strong vocational track again, or a very big percentage of students are going to continue to be chained to a reality of student debt with no prospects of gainful employment, except for barista’s and “executives” at research companies.

        Remember the housing bubble? The way the banks put people in houses that they couldn’t possibly afford because, in the short term, it made the banks profitable? Well, that has been college the last ten years. We are now just going over the peak of the bubble. Maybe on your ride down you might think about what might have been more useful to these students. A bogus academic degree or a real vocational degree.

        • kelly

          My daughter has a 4.0, over a 1600 on the SAT, over 100 community service hours, president of SGA, varsity volleyball, NHS member, yet will not qualify for one dime of the Bright Futures Scholarship! Why, she scored a 540 in math, 550 in reading and a 600 on the writing portion. However, Bright Future requires 4.0, 100 community hours, and 1170 or 1290 for math and reading combined, excluding writing. I know my child will succeed in college (both her dad and I have BA and MA degrees, while not earning the scores she has). I agree more vocational options should be given to HS students. However, determined students such as my daughter should be able to receive Bright Future Scholarship Monies based on less strenuous scores. Success cannot be measured alone on standardized test scores!

    • EduMan

      Actually DataMan, I received a composite score on the ACT of 20, and now hold down a bachelors degree with a double major (having done NO remedial work) two master’s degrees and am pursuing a doctorate. What it really comes down to is that I do not function well on a standardized test. I’m currently an executive with a research company (in Florida) that seeks to assist high school dropouts in earning a GED, and pursuing educational goals. I’d say My “20″ has gotten me pretty far in life.

      • Reality

        Yeah, that is a lot of degrees for the job you got. An executive for a research company assisting high school dropouts? Seriously? You could have done that right out of high school. Heck, during high school even. You’re the face of a bogusly educated and bogusly employed generation.

  • Still learning

    Great points made above. Do you think that with todays technology colleges will no longer have a monopoly on education? As more courses are added online any one can learn anything they want so that education will longer be limited by an admission test score or financial resources but by the individual’s desire to learn. We all have seen college graduates that don’t go anywhere in life and people who never graduated but accomplished great things, such as Steve Jobs. So I have learned never to underestimate another human being, much less based on a single test score.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry, did I miss something? Why exactly should there be a lower standard for hispanics and blacks? What does that have to do with anything?

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