June 16, 2021
Florida higher ed programs, including Bright Futures, face changes courtesy of Legislature

Florida Trend Education

Florida higher ed programs, including Bright Futures, face changes courtesy of Legislature

| 5/6/2021

Florida higher ed programs, including Bright Futures, face changes courtesy of Legislature

Lawmakers during this year’s legislative session eliminated grants that help students at some private colleges pay tuition and got rid of an annual textbook stipend for Bright Futures scholarship recipients --- but stopped short of upending the way the $650 million Bright Futures program is funded. Sen. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, in February filed a proposal (SB 86) aimed at cutting Bright Futures aid for students in degree fields deemed by higher-education governing boards as unlikely to lead to employment. The legislation quickly sparked a public outcry led by a group, known as “Save Bright Futures,” made up primarily of prospective college students. [Source: News Service of Florida]

Gov. DeSantis signs bills on literacy, early learning

lorida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a pair of education bills into law Tuesday that proponents hope will improve student literacy and early learning programs that prepare children for kindergarten. One bill signed into law would establish the Division of Early Learning within the state’s Department of Education as part of what the Republican governor said would produce "meaningful improvements to state accountability for early learning programs." The success rate of so-called "voluntary pre-kindergarten" programs had been under scrutiny because of data that shows many children are ill-prepared for kindergarten. [Source: AP]

Florida colleges team up with national nonprofit to help displaced frontline workforce get back to work

Across Central Florida, workers and job-seekers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have a new, free resource to access job training and career opportunities, thanks to a partnership announced today between four state colleges, the Florida Department of Education, and the national nonprofit SkillUp Coalition. An ambitious partnership of education and providers, employers, and community-based organizations backed by major workforce nonprofits and philanthropies, SkillUp Florida will bring sophisticated labor market analytics and personalized coaching to bear on creating new pathways to opportunity for workers throughout the region. [Source: Florida Trend]

UNF offering new engineering degrees

The University of North Florida College of Computing, Engineering and Construction is introducing two new engineering degree programs that will accept students in the fall semester. A news release states the college created the bachelor of science in advanced manufacturing and a master of science in materials science and engineering programs to meet current regional and global engineering demands and provide technical skills employers are seeking to best prepare students to enter the workforce. [Source: Jacksonville Daily Record]

DeSantis order ending local mask rules does not apply to schools

Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an emergency order on Monday immediately ending “local COVID-19 restrictions and mandates on individuals and businesses.” It doesn’t apply to school districts. Facing confusion from school district officials across Florida, the Department of Education issued a statement late in the evening to clarify the governor’s remarks and actions. [Source: Tampa Bay Times]

Trend Mention

Mention ImageUF research spending at record $942.2 million in 2020 despite pandemic

UF Research spending reached a record $942.2 million in fiscal year 2020, despite a two-month pause in most operations due to the pandemic. According to a new report to the National Science Foundation, research expenditures supported by the federal government increased to $397.2 million, while state and local expenditures increased to $169.2 million. Learn about ongoing UF research in areas such as Alzheimer’s, early childhood learning and agriculture.

ALSO AROUND FLORIDA:

› USF to resume in-person graduation ceremonies Saturday
The University of South Florida is set to hold in-person graduation ceremonies this weekend for the first time since December 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the university to hold virtual ceremonies in spring, summer and fall of 2020. “We really did the best we could to honor those graduates under very unique circumstances, but we know that nothing can quite replicate the in-person experience, and so that’s what we’re trying to provide,” USF spokesperson Adam Freeman said.

› The Consortium of Florida Education Foundations announces partnership with Qgiv Digital Fundraising Platform
Qgiv, Inc., a leading provider of nonprofit fundraising technology, and the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations (the Consortium) are working together to provide education foundations throughout the state of Florida digital fundraising tools to enhance educational fundraising initiatives in support of teachers and students. Qgiv’s fundraising tools will be accessible for a discounted rate to the Consortium’s 64 member local education foundations aligned with nearly all of Florida’s countywide school districts, making this Qgiv’s largest education-focused partnership to date.

› Multimillion-dollar tech startup transplanted to Miami commits to hiring new UM grads
A new-to-Miami tech startup that has already raised $80 million is now partnering with the University of Miami to ensure local graduates are being hired directly into the city’s booming tech ecosystem. Eight Sleep, a tech company that designs high-performance mattresses designed to improve health and sleeping habits, said it had committed to hiring as many as five newly minted Hurricane alums per semester.

› Pasco school resource officers will no longer access student data
Pasco County’s school resource officers will no longer have access to student data, including children’s grades and discipline histories, after the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office and School Board revised their data-sharing agreement Tuesday. The officers will also no longer have access to the school district’s early warning system, which designates students as on-track, off-track or at-risk, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

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