Students should support program

When budget cuts threatened the Bright Futures Scholarship program, Student Government went to bet for USF students.

Gov. Jeb Bush’s initial budget plans significantly limited the amount of money available for Bright Futures. His new plan includes money for Bright Futures. However, the state will only pay a certain amount and wants the universities to cover the extra amounts that will result from next year’s tuition increases.

SG placed ads asking for support in The Oracle, and along with those in their offices and on the SG Web site, they received more than 10,000 signed petitions. Student Body President Mike Griffin spoke to Bush on more than one occasion regarding the need to keep Bright Futures.

The Bright Futures Scholarship is one of the few programs that awards money to students based on academic performance, without regard to the student’s financial need. This gives students whose families may have to struggle to send them to college a chance to earn a degree.

According to the Florida Department of Education, 98,554 students received money from the program for the 2001-02 school year.

Showing their dismay about the possible cutbacks to the program, students from all the state universities will be rallying outside the state capitol on Thursday. SG will provide bus transportation to Tallahassee, memos excusing students from missing class and “Save Bright Futures” T-shirts.

It’s encouraging to see that SG is standing up for a cause and making such efforts to have their voices heard. Actions like these can, in fact, make a difference. Members of the community see SG as a reflection of the university, so it’s important they represent the students in a positive way.

SG’s efforts to save the Bright Futures program show they are dedicated to helping USF students. The university’s students should support SG by signing the petitions and joining them in the rally on Thursday.