TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – If you haven’t signed your child up for the Florida prepaid tuition program, then you’re out of luck if the new Senate budget is adopted.
The Senate budget will close the prepaid tuition program to new enrollment, except for the Stanley Tate STARS scholarship for at risk students. The proposal first surfaced Thursday when the Senate released its higher education budget, according to the News Service of Florida.
Existing pre-paid tuition program participants would be able to continue investing in their plans, but after a certain future date, the program would cease to exist.
The proposed higher education budget in the Senate is $6.8 billion, or roughly $320.3 million less than last year’s budget. Part of the drop in funding is from the loss of federal stimulus funds which Republicans slammed, but also were quick to use to fill in budget gaps.
State Senator Evelyn Lynn told the News Service of Florida that she feared the state was taking on too much debt through the program.
“The state is totally obligated should something fail,” Lynn said.
The measure would still have to go through the House, which hasn’t indicated if it’s in favor of getting rid of the prepaid plan.
Senate budget writers are also considering reducing the merit-based Bright Futures scholarship by $1,000 per student. Both chambers are also considering making the eligibility requirements tougher for the scholarships.