Florida College Launches $10,000 Scholarships After DeSantis-Backed Conservative Takeover

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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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A Florida state college will use a portion of its $15 million state legislature funds to offer $10,000 scholarships to prospective students, the Herald-Tribune reported.

The scholarship will be accessible to “each qualified first-time-in-college or transfer student” enrolled, according to a message from Interim President Richard Corcoran reported by the Herald-Tribune. Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis requested the funding during a Jan. 31 press conference, where he also announced his intent to defund Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at colleges and universities. (RELATED: Conservative Think Tanks Score Big In Proposed Florida Higher Ed Budget)

The scholarship will be referred to as the Presidential Honors Scholarship and can total up to $40,000 during a student’s four-year time period at NCF, according to a sample letter sent to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The scholarship can be used in addition to other scholarships and aid students receive and includes a $2,000 internship scholarship for students to use while competing an internship with an “organization or community partner” after their first year and before graduation, according to the letter.

“New College is the place for the rapidly growing population of students who are looking for a place to explore their intellectual curiosity, career
aspirations and individual learning style,” Corcoran wrote in the letter.

The New College of Florida (NCF) is currently undergoing an ideological shift after Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed several conservative members to its Board of Trustees and its president was temporarily replaced weeks after, prompting students to decry the recent changes. The Florida Family Policy Council (FFPC), a conservative nonprofit, advertised the scholarship in an email to “friends with college-aged students” that touted NCF as the “Hillsdale College of the southeast” — a reference to the Michigan college known for leaning conservative — according to the Herald Tribune.

The board voted to disband the college’s office dedicated to promoting DEI and to prohibit the use of diversity statements during its Feb. 28 meeting. Corcoran later terminated the college’s chief diversity officer.

DeSantis turned his focus toward higher education early in 2023 and made promises to crack down on public spending toward DEI and Critical Race Theory initiatives. His higher education reforms intend to “refocus Florida’s public colleges and universities on preparing students to be contributing members of society, and bring more accountability to the higher education system,” according to the January press conference.

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