TALLAHASSEEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — Florida lawmakers next week will consider pumping an additional $25.3 million into the Bright Futures scholarship program amid higher-than-expected student participation this year.READ MORE: Opera Singer, Fashion Designer Radmila Lolly Thrills Miami Heat Fans With Custom-Designed Ball Gowns
The Joint Legislative Budget Commission, which is made up of House and Senate leaders and can make mid-year budget changes, is scheduled to take up the issue Jan. 24, according to an agenda posted online.
Lawmakers provided nearly $520 million for the Bright Futures program in this budget year. But the latest estimate from state analysts showed an increase in qualifying students could push the cost to about $545 million.READ MORE: Swastikas, Hate Messages Found Scrawled On Bathroom Wall At Davie High School
The Department of Education is requesting that lawmakers approve an additional $25.3 million for the program, which is funded through what is known as the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund. That trust fund receives money from the Florida Lottery.
With backing from key lawmakers such as former Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, the Legislature has dramatically increased higher-education financial aid programs in recent years. Lawmakers, for example, expanded top-level Bright Futures awards to cover full tuition and fees, as well as to pay for some textbooks.MORE NEWS: South Florida Family Makes Plea To Help Find Son's Suspended Killer
(©2019 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida’s contributed to this report.)