Chambers agree $2.15 million for Benacquisto scholarship program

The money helps National Merit Scholars attend public schools.

It looks like the Benacquisto Scholarship Program tutored with appropriations officers in the Legislative Assembly.

The House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee and the Senate Education Appropriations Committee both included $2,153,995 from general revenue in the education silo for the program. This will fund scholarships for National Merit Scholar and cover tuition at state post-secondary institutions that are not covered by Bright Futures or the National Merit Scholar program itself.

The scholarship was included in legislation (SB 2500) approved on February 16 in a 102-14 vote in the House, and then with a unanimous 36-0 vote in the Senate the following day.

To be eligible for the scholarship program, students named National Merit Scholars in 2021 must be enrolled for at least 12 credit hours during the 2021-22 academic term at a Florida institution and must live in Florida. This is the final year that the program will be available to non-Florida residents who live in Florida while attending school.

Beyond those who receive National Honor, the scholarships are also available for corporate-sponsored and college-sponsored National Merit Scholars. Nine Florida institutions participate in the scholarship program, including Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, Florida State University, New College of Florida , the University of Central Florida, the University of Florida, the University of Miami, and the University of South Florida. To receive college-sponsored scholarships, students must list one of these institutions as their first choice and must attend the institution.

Students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average at the end of the spring semester to continue in the program from that time.

Originally known as the National Merit Award Scholarship, the program in 2019 was renamed to Sen. Lizbeth Benacquistostock market supporter.

The latest budget offers show the chambers also accepting a $582,202 increase to the scholarship program for minority teachers. There is also $2,479,236 for enrollment growth for scholarships for children and spouses of deceased/disabled veterans.


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