Governor Ron DeSantis signs House Bill 461 to expand eligibility requirements for the Bright Futures Scholarship Program to include paid work experience

The Bright Futures Scholarship Program’s qualifying standards have been expanded to include paid work experience as a substitute for service hours, and Governor Ron DeSantis signed House Bill 461 to that effect today.
With this expansion, students who have after-school jobs will be able to use their paid employment contributions to their communities to fulfill the requirement for service hours.
The Act gives students who might not have been able to meet the standards for a scholarship the chance to obtain Bright Futures Scholarships.
“Florida students should not lose the opportunity to receive a Bright Futures Scholarship because they have to work to help their families make ends meet,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “After school jobs teach our students valuable life lessons, much like community service hours do. I am glad to sign this bill and will continue to make sure higher education remains affordable in Florida.” 
“When our administration took office, we vowed to invest and prioritize our state’s education and continue to open the doors to success for students of all backgrounds,” said Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez. “Signing House Bill 461 is yet another testament of our administration’s continued commitment to putting students and families first. Florida is not only the free state, but it is also the education state.” 
“Bright Futures has provided a pathway to success for nearly one million students,” said Education Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. “With today’s changes to Bright Futures eligibility requirements, no student will be forced to choose between supporting their family and meeting the volunteer hours necessary to earn a scholarship. I’m proud to join Governor DeSantis today as we expand access to postsecondary education for all students.”
“I am so grateful for the Governor’s support for HB 461,” said Senator Travis Hutson. “Children across Florida should have every opportunity to graduate and go to college and this bill expands those opportunities. Some kids do not have the luxury to volunteer and instead need to provide for their families. This bill allows them to help their parents while still pursuing their dreams for a higher education.”
“This important legislation ensures Florida’s youth have access to quality higher education at an affordable cost,” said Representative Lauren Melo. “By improving the existing opportunities available, this bill secures Florida’s greatest legacy, its children, and ensures they are set up on the path to their brightest future regardless of economic background. I want to thank Governor DeSantis for his unwavering support of Florida’s students.”
The bill amends the criteria for the Bright Futures Scholarship Program’s eligibility standards to give students the opportunity to use paid job hours in order to be eligible for the scholarship.
Paid work hours must adhere to the standards for volunteer hours and be supported by appropriate documentation.
The Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program was started in 1997 to help students with the expenditures of pursuing a postsecondary degree. It is mostly sponsored by the Florida Lottery.
Over 120,000 Florida students received Bright Futures Scholarships for the 2021–2022 academic year.