Bright Futures scholarship deadline extended helps local high school graduates

Extending bright futures

Oakleaf High School graduate Gavin Davis worked hard the past four years to try and earn a Bright Futures scholarship. Jessy Davis said her son just needs to bring up his ACT or SAT scores to qualify.

“Gavin has really worked hard to keep his grades up there and, um, been struggling on the test, but studying really hard,” Davis said. “Just to feel like it was ripped away, it was devastating.”

Before high school graduation, Davis said her son was scheduled to take three tests that all got canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Davis said she thought her son’s hope of earning a scholarship to help pay for college was crushed.

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“It makes it very frustrating to feel like you put in four years of hard work for just a brick wall to be put up,” Davis said.

Davis began his freshman year at Florida State College of Jacksonville, while still studying for the ACT or SAT. Davis said the family had to take out a loan to help pay for Gavin’s college.

“The money wasn’t there for the scholarship,” Davis said. “It was a debt we were hoping not to incur.”

The Florida Department of Education previously extended the deadline from June 30th to the end of July. However, Davis said the first test her teenager could take wasn’t until August, well past the deadline.

Now, thousands of students who graduated during the 2019-2020 school year will have until Dec. 1, 2020 to meet the Bright Futures requirements. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order last week that extended the deadline yet again.

The FDOE estimates 32,000 seniors met the Bright Futures requirements for the 2019-2020 school year, except the minimum SAT or ACT scores. The department predicts if students are given another opportunity to take the test, about a quarter, or 8,000 students, would qualify for a 75% or full scholarship.