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The Florida Senate

2009 Florida Statutes

Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program; student eligibility requirements for initial awards.
Section 1009.531, Florida Statutes 2009

1009.531  Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program; student eligibility requirements for initial awards.--

(1)  Effective January 1, 2008, in order to be eligible for an initial award from any of the three types of scholarships under the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program, a student must:

(a)  Be a Florida resident as defined in s. 1009.40 and rules of the State Board of Education.

(b)  Earn a standard Florida high school diploma or its equivalent as described in s. 1003.429, s. 1003.43, or s. 1003.435 unless:

1.  The student completes a home education program according to s. 1002.41; or

2.  The student earns a high school diploma from a non-Florida school while living with a parent or guardian who is on military or public service assignment away from Florida.

(c)  Be accepted by and enroll in an eligible Florida public or independent postsecondary education institution.

(d)  Be enrolled for at least 6 semester credit hours or the equivalent in quarter hours or clock hours.

(e)  Not have been found guilty of, or entered a plea of nolo contendere to, a felony charge, unless the student has been granted clemency by the Governor and Cabinet sitting as the Executive Office of Clemency.

(f)  Apply for a scholarship from the program by high school graduation.

(2)  A student is eligible to accept an initial award for 3 years following high school graduation and to accept a renewal award for 7 years following high school graduation. A student who applies for an award by high school graduation and who meets all other eligibility requirements, but who does not accept his or her award, may reapply during subsequent application periods up to 3 years after high school graduation. For a student who enlists in the United States Armed Forces immediately after completion of high school, the 3-year eligibility period for his or her initial award shall begin upon the date of separation from active duty. For a student who is receiving a Florida Bright Futures Scholarship and discontinues his or her education to enlist in the United States Armed Forces, the remainder of his or her 7-year renewal period shall commence upon the date of separation from active duty.

(3)  For purposes of calculating the grade point average to be used in determining initial eligibility for a Florida Bright Futures Scholarship, the department shall assign additional weights to grades earned in the following courses:

(a)  Courses identified in the course code directory as Advanced Placement, pre-International Baccalaureate, International Baccalaureate, International General Certificate of Secondary Education (pre-AICE), or Advanced International Certificate of Education.

(b)  Courses designated as academic dual enrollment courses in the statewide course numbering system.

The department may assign additional weights to courses, other than those described in paragraphs (a) and (b), that are identified by the Department of Education as containing rigorous academic curriculum and performance standards. The additional weight assigned to a course pursuant to this subsection shall not exceed 0.5 per course. The weighted system shall be developed and distributed to all high schools in the state prior to January 1, 1998. The department may determine a student's eligibility status during the senior year before graduation and may inform the student of the award at that time.

(4)  Each school district shall annually provide to each high school student a complete and accurate Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Evaluation Report and Key. The report shall be disseminated at the beginning of each school year. The report must include all high school coursework attempted, the number of credits earned toward each type of award, and the calculation of the grade point average for each award. The report must also identify all requirements not met per award, including the grade point average requirement, as well as identify the awards for which the student has met the academic requirements. The student report cards must contain a disclosure that the grade point average calculated for purposes of the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program may differ from the grade point average on the report card.

(5)  A student who wishes to qualify for a particular award within the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program, but who does not meet all of the requirements for that level of award, may, nevertheless, receive the award if the principal of the student's school or the district superintendent verifies that the deficiency is caused by the fact that school district personnel provided inaccurate or incomplete information to the student. The school district must provide a means for the student to correct the deficiencies and the student must correct them, either by completing comparable work at the postsecondary institution or by completing a directed individualized study program developed and administered by the school district. If the student does not complete the requirements by December 31 immediately following high school graduation, the student is ineligible to participate in the program.

History.--s. 423, ch. 2002-387; s. 20, ch. 2003-72; s. 48, ch. 2003-391; s. 54, ch. 2004-41; s. 7, ch. 2005-196; s. 1, ch. 2007-330.