Bright Futures scholarship undergoes change in Florida

Florida students aiming for the state's "Bright Futures" scholarship, you better make sure you have good grades. And don't expect the scholarship to cover all of your college expenses.

That's because, thanks to the recession, Florida lawmakers passed recent changes to cut state spending on the Bright Futures scholarship program by more than $100 million a year. What does that mean for you? The Bright Futures scholarship, once an easy catch for many Florida students, is not so easy to get – nor hold onto once you have it.

The Bright Futures scholarship program was started in 1997 with the goal of keeping Florida students from leaving the state for college elsewhere. It's funded by the Florida lottery and has awarded more than $3 billion to half a million students in the past 13 years. However, as the recession has gotten rockier, tightening government funds and reducing the amount of money people have to spend on lottery tickets, the number of students who can qualify for the Bright Futures scholarship has quadrupled.