New Financial Aid Program May Benefit Thousands of African-American College Students in Florida

Thousands of college-age students in Florida can now attend one of the 28 state-operated community colleges without having to pay a dime in tuition. The Bright Futures Medallion Scholarship was founded in 1997 and provides money for college for more than 100,000 students each year. This fall the program, funded by the state lottery, will pay 100 percent of the cost of attending community college, up from 75 percent in previous years. The scholarships are merit based but the qualifications are such that thousands of black and other minority students will be able to meet the requirements.

In order to qualify, students need to have a 3.0 grade point average in high school and to score at least 970 on the SAT college admissions test. While the score is well above the average score for blacks nationwide, there are thousands of black students in Florida who score above this level on the SAT.

To maintain their scholarships once they enroll in college, students must maintain a 2.75 grade point average and take a minimum of six credit hours. Students earning their two-year associate’s degree under the program can then transfer to a state-operated four-year university and have 75 percent of their costs paid for by the state.