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Thursday's Daily Pulse

Florida students below nation in SAT scores

Florida's students continue to perform below the national average on the SAT college entrance exam, mirroring results from the ACT test. Results for the Class of 2013, released today, show SAT scores have hardly budged from 2012, and the number of test-takers remained nearly flat. More from the Orlando Sentinel and the AP.

Luxury condo projects attracting construction loans again

After getting burned badly in the real-estate crash, commercial banks withdrew from construction lending. However, as housing and other sectors of the real estate market have been reviving, lenders have increasingly agreed to back construction in South Florida and elsewhere, albeit at more conservative levels than before the crash. [Source: Miami Herald]

Related Florida Trend Content
» Positive signs in commercial real estate

Heritage language programs on the rise

Universities are adapting their foreign language curriculum, in part to better prepare graduates for a globalized world where it pays to be professionally fluent in more than one language. With 37 million Spanish-speakers in America, most heritage classes are in Spanish, and courses have bloomed across campuses in California, Florida and several Southwestern states. [Source: AP]

Floridians scramble for mortgage principal reduction funds

Between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesday, more than 7,000 Floridians had applied for a government program that could reduce as much as $50,000 of the principal homeowners owe on their mortgage. Once the state receives 25,000 applications, it will shut down the application process. [Source: Orlando Sentinel]

Hotels becoming electric-car friendly

As hotels seek to attract more eco-friendly travelers, some are installing battery charging stations for guests with electric and hybrid cars. Joining the growing sustainable effort is the PGA National Resort & Spa, which is installing charging stations for plug-in vehicles. [Source: South Florida Sun-Sentinel]

See also:
» FPL touts electric vehicles, sets example with its fleet


› Legislature weighs options as higher flood insurance costs loom
A state House subcommittee received options Wednesday to help homeowners fend off an expected end to federal flood-insurance subsidies that Realtors claim could devastate Florida's economy.

› Davie-based Mako Surgical to be sold for $1.65 billion
In one of the biggest acquisitions in South Florida's bio-medical industry, device maker Stryker Corp. announced Wednesday it will buy Davie-based Mako Surgical Corp. for $1.65 billion.

› Veterans get another chance for in-state tuition rates
All military veterans would pay in-state tuition rates at Florida’s public universities and colleges under legislation moving through the state Capitol, potentially saving those students tens of thousands of dollars on their education.

› Marlins still adding stadium construction expenses to list
The Miami Marlins are continuing to submit their stadium-related expenses to county officials to be counted toward their share of construction costs under the controversial deal that built Marlins Park in Little Havana.

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› Hardest-Hit glitch bounces out homeowners hoping to slash mortgage debt
A Florida Hardest-Hit Fund technical glitch Wednesday morning turned away underwater homeowners hoping for a chance to cut up to $50,000 off their mortgage debt. A state website said the fund's new $350 million principal-reduction program reached its limit of 25,000 applications only seconds after its 9 a.m. start.

› Hertz sees more than 200 job seekers in first hour of career fair
Hertz Corp. hiring managers have seen 264 applicants in the first hour of the Career Fair at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa in Estero. Two thousand or more people are expected over the two days as the company hires in anticipation of its relocation from New Jersey to Southwest Florida.

› International use up 18% at Fort Lauderdale airport
International traffic has grown 18% at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport between 2008 and 2012, the latest data show, thanks to Broward County’s diverse population and the airport’s success at attracting low-cost carriers with increasingly expanding international service.

› EagleRider brings motorcycle rentals, tours to Orlando
A motorcycle rental company is opening shop near Orlando International Airport, offering Harley, Honda and BMW bikes to tourists and locals who want to see Central Florida on two wheels.