Florida higher education bills pass Senate committee

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Two key components of the Florida Senate’s agenda to improve colleges and universities are moving forward.

The Senate Education Committee approved the bills Monday.

One bill (SB 2) promotes students graduating on time by expanding student financial assistance, implementing flexible tuition policies and incentivizes colleges and universities to have students graduate in four years. The bill also reinstates the Bright Futures Scholarship to 100 percent of tuition and expands the Benacquisto Scholar Program.

The second bill (SB 4) deals with expanding funding for universities to recruit and retain faculty, enhance professional schools and address improvements to infrastructure and research laboratories.

Republican Sen. Bill Galvano of Bradenton is sponsoring both bills. Senate President Joe Negron has made higher education one of his top priorities for the upcoming session, which begins on March 7.

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