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Florida Happenings in College Savings, Higher Education and Personal Finance – April 2016

Florida’s colleges and universities, and their measures to boost affordability, are in the news and making news this month. Check it out:

COLLEGE AFFORDABILITY BILL PASSES: Governor Rick Scott has signed HB 7019 which creates greater transparency and accountability in Florida’s higher education system. HB 7019 provides greater clarity for students regarding college costs; continues to hold the line on graduate school tuition; informs students of required and recommended textbooks before the start of classes; requires Florida colleges and universities to adopt policies that make textbooks more affordable; and requires the Board of Governors and the State Board of Education to annually study and make recommendations on how to make college more affordable.

USF TOP FOR VETERANS: Military Times has named USF the No. 2 university in the nation for veterans, which boast a 90 percent retention rate at the institution located near MacDill Air Force Base. More than 1,000 military or ex-military students enrolled in 2014. Those with Florida Prepaid Plans have 10 years after high school graduation to use them. Time spent in active duty does not count against the 10-year window.

FLORIDA GULF COAST UNIVERSITY TUITION REBATE: The Florida Gulf Coast University board of trustees is moving ahead with a program that will allow students to get a rebate of their freshman year tuition, starting as soon as August. Students will have to meet certain requirements to qualify, such as declaring a major as a freshman, graduating in four years or less, getting a full-time job in Florida within six months of graduating and earning an annual salary of at least $25,000 a year.

INCOMING SENATE PRESIDENT GOES BACK TO COLLEGE: Higher education is a priority for Incoming Senate President Joe Negron, who just embarked on a statewide tour of Florida’s 12 public universities – part of his plan to secure a $1 billion increase over two years for state universities. He also wants to restore the Bright Futures scholarships’ top level to provide full funding for college and university students.

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