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The Florida Senate

2006 Florida Statutes

Section 1009.53, Florida Statutes 2006

1009.53  Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program.--

(1)  The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program is created to establish a lottery-funded scholarship program to reward any Florida high school graduate who merits recognition of high academic achievement and who enrolls in a degree program, certificate program, or applied technology program at an eligible Florida public or private postsecondary education institution within 3 years of graduation from high school.

(2)  The Bright Futures Scholarship Program consists of three types of awards: the Florida Academic Scholarship, the Florida Medallion Scholarship, and the Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholarship.

(3)  The Department of Education shall administer the Bright Futures Scholarship Program according to rules and procedures established by the State Board of Education. A single application must be sufficient for a student to apply for any of the three types of awards. The department must advertise the availability of the scholarship program and must notify students, teachers, parents, guidance counselors, and principals or other relevant school administrators of the criteria and application procedures. The department must begin this process of notification no later than January 1 of each year.

(4)  Funding for the Bright Futures Scholarship Program must be allocated from the Education Enhancement Trust Fund and must be provided before allocations from that fund are calculated for disbursement to other educational entities.

(a)  If funds appropriated are not adequate to provide the maximum allowable award to each eligible applicant, awards in all three components of the program must be prorated using the same percentage reduction.

(b)  Notwithstanding s. 216.301, if all funds allocated to the Bright Futures Scholarship Program are not used in any fiscal year, up to 10 percent of the total allocation may be carried forward and used for awards in the following year.

(5)  The department shall issue awards from the scholarship program annually. Annual awards may be for up to 45 semester credit hours or the equivalent. Before the registration period each semester, the department shall transmit payment for each award to the president or director of the postsecondary education institution, or his or her representative, except that the department may withhold payment if the receiving institution fails to report or to make refunds to the department as required in this section.

(a)  Within 30 days after the end of regular registration each semester, the educational institution shall certify to the department the eligibility status of each student who receives an award. After the end of the drop and add period, an institution is not required to reevaluate or revise a student's eligibility status, but must make a refund to the department if a student who receives an award disbursement terminates enrollment for any reason during an academic term and a refund is permitted by the institution's refund policy.

(b)  An institution that receives funds from the program shall certify to the department the amount of funds disbursed to each student and shall remit to the department any undisbursed advances within 60 days after the end of regular registration.

(c)  Each institution that receives moneys through this program shall prepare an annual report that includes an annual financial audit, conducted by an independent certified public accountant or the Auditor General. The report shall include an audit of the institution's administration of the program and a complete accounting of the moneys for the program. This report must be submitted to the department annually by March 1. The department may conduct its own annual audit of an institution's administration of the program. The department may request a refund of any moneys overpaid to the institution for the program. The department may suspend or revoke an institution's eligibility to receive future moneys for the program if the department finds that an institution has not complied with this section. The institution must remit within 60 days any refund requested in accordance with this subsection.

(6)  A student enrolled in 6 to 8 semester credit hours may receive up to one-half of the maximum award; a student enrolled in 9 to 11 credit hours may receive up to three-fourths of the maximum award; and a student enrolled in 12 or more credit hours may receive up to the full award.

(7)  A student may receive only one type of award from the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program at a time, but may transfer from one type of award to another through the renewal application process, if the student's eligibility status changes. However, a student is not eligible to transfer from a Florida Medallion Scholarship or a Florida Gold Seal Vocational Scholarship to a Florida Academic Scholarship. A student who receives an award from the program may also receive a federal family education loan or a federal direct loan, and the value of the award must be considered in the certification or calculation of the student's loan eligibility.

(8)  If a recipient transfers from one eligible institution to another and continues to meet eligibility requirements, the award must be transferred with the student.

(9)  A student may use an award for summer term enrollment if funds are available.

(10)  Funds from any scholarship within the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program may not be used to pay for remedial or college-preparatory coursework.

History.--s. 422, ch. 2002-387.