Sen. Ken Pruitt visits campus for student support

A state supporter for the Bright Futures Scholarship and Florida’s Prepaid College Tuition will be on campus today to rally students to lobby for the program.

Florida Sen. Ken Pruitt, R-Port St. Lucie, is riding his “Bright Futures Express” to all 11 state universities and 28 community colleges in hopes to overturn some lawmakers’ plans to cut the programs.

Student body president Omar Khan and Student Government have been working with Pruitt’s office in order to arrange his visit to campus.

“It is a very good thing that he is coming because it is a student issue,” Khan said. “It is hard for students to get their voice out, and this can be a good time to do (it).”

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Pruitt visited the Central Florida area at the end of last month.

“Let’s start getting in legislators’ faces,” Pruitt told students at Valencia, Lake-Sumter and Seminole community colleges.

The Sentinel also reported that Bright Futures’ cost is outpacing growth in the lottery funds that pay for it. During the last legislative session, the House recommended bills proposing to place tighter eligibility and income restrictions on who can receive the aid.

About 41,000 students received Bright Futures in its first year in 1998. More than 98,000 received it in the 2001-02 school year. Bright Futures pays 100 percent of tuition at state universities for high school graduates with 1270 on the SAT, or a 28 on the ACT, and 75 hours of community service, as well as a 3.5 grade point average. It pays 75 percent of college tuition for students with a 970 SAT, or a 20 on the ACT, and a 3.0 GPA.

“Student Government wanted Pruitt to come to help get students involved and even though Bright Futures was saved this year they need to be pro-active,” Khan said.

Pruitt will be in the Phyllis P. Marshall Center Room 271 at 3 p.m. to answer any questions regarding the scholarship.