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The Florida Senate

President Office — Press Release


April 8, 2021

CONTACT: Katie Betta, (850) 487-5229

Senate Passes Legislation to Improve Career Planning Opportunities in Higher Education

SB 86 provides students with data-based roadmap to employment

Tallahassee —

The Florida Senate today passed Senate Bill 86, Student Financial Aid, by Senator Dennis Baxley (R-Ocala). The bill creates a framework students and families can utilize to make more informed decisions about educational options, while expanding avenues to eligibility for merit-based financial aid scholarships Florida students earn in high school.

“All too often the debate surrounding higher education focuses on the cost to the student, in terms of tuition and fees, but never the cost to the taxpayer or the actual value to the student,” said Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-Trilby). “The reality is a degree does not guarantee a job. I appreciate Senator Baxley’s hard work this session in elevating the important discussion about the critical link between getting an education and finding a job.”

“Each student should be encouraged to pursue their passion, but if there are degrees that we know do not lead to jobs, we have an obligation to let the student know as they begin to choose their educational path. The goal is to ensure we maximize every dollar the state – and the student – invests in education,” said Senator Baxley. “This legislation creates a framework for informational resources for students and families as they choose the most beneficial major or certificate program for their future.”

Career Planning

Senate Bill 86 requires the Board of Governors (BOG), State Board of Education (SBE) and the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF) to create and publish a list, by December 31, 2021, of programs and certificates that will not directly lead to jobs. University students will also have access to the real-world outcomes of state university graduates by academic area, and students will be able to explore post-graduation median salary, debt, loan, and continuing education information before declaring a major.

Each university board of trustees must develop a plan to connect first-year students to career planning, which must include a hold on registration until the student registers with the career center, completes a career readiness module, is directed to the online dashboard, and indicates that they are aware of employment prospects based on their declared major. These procedures must be approved by the BOG by March 1, 2022.

Expanded Eligibility for Bright Futures

The bill provides additional eligibility options for the Bright Futures Scholarship Program beginning for graduates of the 2021-2022 academic year. The Florida Academic Scholars (FAS) award eligibility is expanded to include students who earn an associate degree through dual enrollment with a minimum 3.5 GPA and students who earn an AP Capstone Diploma with scores of a 4 or higher on six AP exams. The Florida Medallion Scholars (FMS) award eligibility is expanded to include students who earn as associate degree through dual enrollment with a minimum 3.0 GPA and students who earn an AP Capstone Diploma with scores of a 3 or higher on six AP exams.

Bright Futures Funding

The bill provides that the FAS and FMS awards are funded through an amount annually specified in the General Appropriations Act (GAA). SB 2500, the GAA passed by the Senate yesterday, fully funds the FAS and FMS at current levels.