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Excellence in Higher Education

During the 2018 Legislative Session, the Senate is proposing an aggressive and comprehensive higher education agenda that boosts the strength and competitiveness of our state universities as our primary economic engine to drive vibrant, sustainable economic development and growth in high-paying jobs. This package of policy enhancements and funding investments is designed to elevate the prominence of our state universities and increase their ability to compete as national destination institutions, while preserving access and increasing affordability for Floridians.

Legislative Progress

2018 Legislation

SB 4 - Ensuring 94,000 Bright Futures SB 4 - Ensuring 94,000 Bright Futures
SB 4 - Degrees = Jobs SB 4 - Degrees = Jobs
Senate Bill 4, the Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act of 2018, by Senator Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton), expands merit-based and need-based student financial aid and establishes flexible tuition policies that incentivize on-time graduation through increased flexibility and cost-saving benefits for students. Specifically, the legislation reinstates full funding of the Bright Futures Florida Academic Scholars award at 100 percent of tuition and fees, plus $300 in fall and spring semesters to cover instructional materials and other costs, beginning in this 2017-2018 academic year. The legislation also reinstates funding for the Bright Futures Florida Medallion Scholars award at 75 percent of tuition and fees for fall and spring semesters, beginning in fall semester of the 2018-2019 academic year. The bill expands and enhances policy and funding tools state universities can leverage to recruit and retain the very best faculty, enrich professional and graduate school strength and viability, and bring aging infrastructure and research laboratories into the 21st century. Senate Bill 4 also ensures universities remain accountable to Florida taxpayers by refining university performance expectations to incentivize and reward state university performance excellence and recognition in academics, instruction, research, and community accomplishments and achievements.

2017 Legislation

SB 374 - College Competitiveness Act SB 374 - College Competitiveness Act
SB 374 - Bright Futures SB 374 - Bright Futures
Senate Bill 374, the Florida Excellence in Higher Education Act, by Senator Dorothy Hukill, Senator Bill Galvano, and Senator Wilton Simpson promotes on-time graduation by expanding need and merit-based student financial assistance and support, establishing tuition and fee incentives, streamlining 2+2 articulation, and strengthening mechanisms that keep colleges and universities accountable to Florida taxpayers. The legislation also expands policy and funding tools universities can leverage to recruit and retain the very best faculty, enhance professional and graduate schools, and improve aging infrastructure and research laboratories. The bill supports Florida’s nationally-ranked community colleges by reinstating a statewide coordinating board for the Florida Community College System, tightening the community college bachelor degree approval process, and clarifying responsibilities within Florida’s taxpayer-funded K-20 education system, to maximize resources already available at state universities, community colleges, and school district technical centers. Governor Scott vetoed Senate Bill 374 on June 14, 2017.


SB 2500 - Budget: Eduction Funding SB 2500 - Budget: Eduction Funding
Senate Bill 2500, the 2017-18 General Appropriations Act, includes key investments in higher education, with a historic focus on student financial aid. In total, the budget increases need-based student aid by 81 percent, while merit-based aid is increased by 79 percent. The bill provides funding to restore the highest level of the Bright Futures Scholarship to 100 percent of tuition for the spring, summer and fall terms, as well as a stipend for books and other instructional materials. Governor Scott signed SB 2500 on June 2, 2017.