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Florida eases requirements for Bright Futures Scholarships, but parents say it's not enough

Posted at 7:06 PM, Jun 11, 2020

MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — The Bright Futures Scholarship is something thousands of Florida high school seniors can qualify for to help them pay for in-state colleges. Now, students are getting an extension to apply but many are saying it's still not enough time.

"It's been rough day after day," said Aiden Mendel, a Lakewood Ranch High School senior.

Mendel has spent months studying for the A.C.T.

"My friends are waking up at noon and hanging out, and I’m here hitting the books every morning," said Mendel.

Mendel says he's trying to get his ACT score higher to qualify for the Bright Futures Scholarship.

Florida's Department of Education Commissioner, Richard Corcoran, just signed an emergency order extending the deadline to qualify from June 30 to July 31. But, there's a problem. Tests are being canceled.

"I was planning on taking it this Saturday, and this morning I found out it was canceled," said Mendel.

Mendel says the June 13 test is no longer available at his testing location. The next testing date is not until July 18.

"Since ACT takes 6-8 weeks to get your scores back and get graded, it would go past the deadline and it would’ve all been for nothing," said Mendel.

Aiden's mother Bridget says more should be done to help Florida's high school seniors who are trying to qualify for the scholarship.

"Realistically someone didn’t do their homework and realize it's still not enough of a change for our seniors," said Bridget Mendel.

The Florida Department of Education did ease the number of volunteer hours required in applying for the scholarship.

Bridget Mendel says that helps Aiden's twin brother Brendan meet the requirements, but she says there needs to be more testing opportunities and the Bright Futures Scholarship extension should last through August or September.

"These kids have been through so much. The class of 2020 is like nothing we’ve ever seen and it's time for Richard Corcoran to give these kids a break," said Bridget Mendel.