May 8, 2021
Florida lawmakers continue to propose changes to scholarship amid student and parent backlash

Florida Trend Education

Florida lawmakers continue to propose changes to scholarship amid student and parent backlash

| 4/8/2021

Florida lawmakers continue to propose changes to scholarship amid student and parent backlash

Florida state lawmakers backed away from much of their plan to gut a beloved higher education scholarship after significant backlash from students and parents, but the fight to save the program is far from over. More than 110,000 college students received the merit-based Bright Futures scholarship in 2020, but that number might have been significantly reduced after Republican state Sen. Dennis Baxley introduced Senate Bill 86. His proposal said only students going into fields he believes would yield high-paying jobs could receive the award, which pays between 75 and 100 percent of in-state tuition at public and private universities. [Source: NBC News]

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The new faces of Florida's MBA professors bring eclectic mix of talent and knowledge

A lawyer by training with extensive international experience in venture capital financing, Sofia Johan has had a circuitous journey to her current position at FAU from her native Malaysia. In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s capital, she held senior management positions as a head legal counsel and as corporate officer of the board of directors for the country’s leading governmental venture capital fund. Johan later parlayed her experience into a teaching job at York University, Schulich School of Business in Toronto. [Source: Florida Trend]

Higher ed bill adds tuition breaks, lawsuit protections

Combining several higher-education proposals, a bill that would protect colleges and universities from coronavirus-related lawsuits and give tuition breaks to out-of-state students who have grandparents living in Florida is poised for a vote by the full House. The measure (HB 1261), sponsored by Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, was filed to offer “buy-one-get-one-free” courses to students pursuing degrees in fields such as science, math and engineering at state universities. But as it was approved Tuesday by the House Education & Employment Committee, the bill also included the proposals related to lawsuit protections and out-of-state students. [Source: News Service of Florida]

As families migrate from the Northeast to South Florida, private schools report spiking enrollments

A migration of families from the Northeast and other states to South Florida — a shift that’s sending real estate prices to historic highs — is beginning to reflect in a surge in enrollment in the area’s private schools. Although enrollment numbers are mostly not yet available, private schools are confirming an increase in new students that they attribute to new arrivals, especially from New York and other states in the Northeast. The draw, many say, is the opportunity for in-person classes at high-quality schools. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

Parents call testing in pandemic ‘ridiculous,’ ‘not fair,’ fear kids will spread COVID taking exams

Asked to comment on a narrow piece of Florida’s school testing rules, hundreds of parents and educators instead used an online survey to plead for the state to cancel exams this spring or to at least waive consequences if students skip them or do poorly. “I believe that Florida needs to let go of testing this year,” one Orange County educator wrote in response to the Florida Department of Education’s request for input. “It’s not fair to these kids after this terrible last year!!” wrote someone else. “Treating this school year as though it was normal is ridiculous,” wrote a parent. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]


› USF awarded five-year, $44.4 million NIH grant to test whether computerized brain training can reduce dementia risk in older adults
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded the University of South Florida (USF) total expected funds of $44.4 million over the next five years to study whether computerized brain training exercises can reduce the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and dementias like Alzheimer’s disease, in older adults. The grant from the NIH’s National Institute on Aging, supported under Award Number R01AG070349, expands USF’s Preventing Alzheimer’s with Cognitive Training (PACT) study.

› Florida GOP pushes ‘intellectual diversity’ survey for colleges
In a push against so-called cancel culture that has been years in the making, the Republican majority in the Florida Legislature appears ready to pass legislation that would require public colleges and universities to survey students, faculty and staff about their beliefs and viewpoints. The survey is part of a broader measure that would also bar university and college officials from limiting speech that “may be uncomfortable, disagreeable or offensive,” and would allow students to record lectures without consent to support a civil or criminal case against a higher-education institution.

› Florida Coastal School of Law loses Title IV student loan eligibility
It could be a temporary setback, or it could be a “death knell” as some has described it. Florida Coastal School of Law in Jacksonville is scrambling to get federal financial aid reinstated for students. A spokesperson for the college on Monday confirmed the school learned that its Title IV student loan eligibility had been terminated, saying it’s the result of a new Department of Education policy.

› Will Sarasota-Manatee colleges require COVID-19 vaccinations for students this fall?
This week marks the first opportunity for anyone as young as 16 years of age to receive the COVID-19 vaccination in Florida. The lowered age eligibility comes as some colleges in the United States have decided to require students be vaccinated to go to fall courses. Cornell University indicated last week that it would require students returning to campus in the fall to be vaccinated. In late March, Rutgers University in New Jersey announced it would require students who are enrolled in nonremote classes for the fall semester to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Will Sarasota-Manatee colleges follow suit?

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