Gov. DeSantis expands Bright Futures scholarship eligibility to include student work hours

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new bill Monday, expanding the eligibility for Florida's Bright Futures scholarship. Now, a student's work hours can be used in place of community service hours when applying for that financial aid.  

The governor said not every student has the luxury of being able to do volunteer work. He signed the bill on the campus of Hillsborough Community College in Ybor City.

"What we don’t want is to take a scholarship and make it out of reach for a student just because of their family circumstances. In fact, those are the students that will probably benefit the most from having these," Gov. DeSantis said.

MORE: Polk County students earn scholarships by sharing immigration stories

This year some $120,000 students will benefit from Bright Futures. The governor said it's critical that students aren't saddled with huge debts as they continue their education.

"I’m a big believer in higher education, but I’m not a big believer in plunging people $150,000 in debt with a degree in zombie studies," he said.

READ: Jefferson High Alumni awards more than $240,000 in scholarships over 33 years

Blake Dellenback said working at his parents ice cream shop on Sanibel Island has limited his opportunity for financial aid. He spoke out, praising the governor and said the eligibility expansion will be a huge benefit. He plans on becoming a Florida Gator and majoring in business. 

"To have this opportunity to be able to transfer these hours for the people that do have to work and have a choice, I think that’s amazing," Dellenback said.