Students push for Bright Futures deadline extension amid SAT, ACT cancellations

With standardized testing postponed, college scholarships, like Bright Futures, are in limbo. Hundreds of thousands of Florida high school seniors are relying on the Bright Futures scholarships to help make college affordable in the fall. To qualify, students must achieve a certain score on the SAT or the ACT exam. Many students were hoping to retake the tests and boost their scores. 

As the pandemic pushes spring exams back to the fall- jeopardizing their chances of financial assistance and, for some, their chances of attending college at all. 

In an online petition that has garnered roughly 8,500 signatures since late March, organizers are asking Florida's commissioner of education to extend the deadline to meet the scholarship requirements. 

Lupita Eyde-Tucker is the self-described education advocate behind the petition. In it, she explains:

"Typically students will take these exams at least twice, and sometimes three or four times in order to achieve a qualifying score. If the current deadlines do not change, then thousands of students who might have had a chance of achieving a qualifying score would be negatively impacted. These students may not receive bright futures, and might not be able to pay for college. For some, this could mean not going to college at all.”

The scholarships cover as much as 100 percent of tuition, along with many of the fees at Florida’s in-state colleges and universities. More than 100,000 students received Bright Futures Awards last year. 

In a banner that scrolls across the homepage of its website, Florida's Office of Student Financial Assistance says it is aware of the cancellation of standardized tests due to the impact of COVID-19 and social distancing measures.

The department said it is evaluating the impact of these measures on initial eligibility requirements and that official notification will go out once a decision is made.