Student leaders testified against Bright Futures bill in Tallahassee on Tuesday

Two members of the New College Student Alliance (NCSA) executive cabinet traveled to Tallahassee to against Senate Bill 86 on Tuesday, March 16 at the Capitol. Among other changes to financial aid, the bill would cut Bright Futures scholarships for students studying topics that don’t “lead directly to employment.” 

NCSA President Sofia Lombardi and co-Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Chloe Fodor joined dozens of other college leaders, high school students and educators from around the state to testify against the bill.

“I’m really glad we were able to go and advocate,” Lombardi said. “It was really inspiring to see that there were 60 to 70 students who wanted to testify against the bill.”

“My high-achieving peers who selected to attend New College over universities like Yale and the University of Michigan will be forced to take their talent elsewhere solely on the basis of Florida’s affordability,” Lombardi said during her testimony.

Fodor drew on her in-class experience to make a case to the senators on the committee. “If my constitutional law class has taught me anything, it is that policy does not have to be explicitly discriminatory in language to be restrictive in action,” she argued.

Despite the onslaught of compelling testimony, the bill passed the committee 5-4. However, Lombardi and Fodor remained hopeful that it would not become law.

“I’m definitely hopeful that it doesn’t make it all the way through,” Fodor said. “It was disappointing to hear the lack of research that went into the bill beforehand before it was even proposed and I think it was pretty reckless of the senators in general to even kind of consider it as a bill and let it go that far without really any background material whatsoever.”

This was not Lombardi’s first time traveling to Tallahassee to speak in front of lawmakers. In February 2020, she co-organized a trip to lobby and testify against the proposed bill that would merge New College with the University of Florida.

Read more about the past and future of the bill in the Tampa Bay Times. 

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