Affordable education plan seems too good to be true


Gov. Rick Scott visited our campus bookstore Jan. 30 to speak about his initiative to aid college students toward a more affordable education. His budget campaign targets three major changes to support this goal: reducing sales tax on cable and cell phones, eliminating tax on college textbooks and expanding the Bright Futures scholarship program to be available for summer courses.
Everyone, especially all of those who really need those scholarships and that tax break on books, are probably shouting out with glee: “Yes! Thank you Governor Scott!” and not think twice as to how this will all happen. I’m left wondering, what’s the catch?
If these wonderful and great ideas are going to benefit all of us college students, why have they waited to put them into effect now? Scott claims that students (who take five classes each semester) will save $170 on textbooks each year. Sounds great!  What about two, three, maybe four years ago? Where were the breaks then? Scott is now in his second term as Florida’s governor, and I want to know if he has always had this outlook toward education or if this is a new enlightened idea that has been proposed to him.
Scott’s campaign also plans to make the Bright Futures scholarship available for summer courses. This will help so many students, just at FGCU alone, seeing as we are required to have summer credits to graduate. I think this is another great implementation from which students can really benefit.
But I have to ask —is there a catch here that we aren’t considering? What I want to know is whether the state will provide more money to make this happen or will the scholarships provided during fall and spring semesters take a cut? And if it’s the latter, how much of a cut? Will the $170 we save on textbooks have to be put toward our tuition if scholarships can’t cover it all?
I’ll give credit where credit is due — this plan sounds great to those who are in college or those who are about to enter college. Students can really benefit from the savings and scholarship expansion proposed in Scott’s plan to provide a more affordable education, and I think most of us are on board for that.
I just want to know if there’s something they aren’t telling us before we all sign our names on the dotted line.