Bright Futures is an interesting scholarship, because its goal was never to assist low-income, minority, or other disadvantaged groups go to college. The sole, original purpose of Bright Futures was to prevent brain drain in the state of Florida - and it has accomplished that goal effectively:
A 2003 state of Florida study found that the percentage of high school graduates attending an in-state college jumped from 52 percent before Bright Futures to 61 percent several years in.
Because the scholarship is merit-based, a lot of upper-middle and upper class students are getting a significant scholarship to a Florida university (up to 56% of BF recipients may not have financial need). What really puts this into perspective is looking at where the money comes from: the Florida Lottery
So who are the lottery players who support Bright Futures through their millionaire dreams? More than a decade ago, University of North Florida professor Mary Borg decided to find out, also researching the makeup of scholarship winners.
What she found: Lottery players tended to be poor, uneducated and minority, while Bright Futures recipients were more likely to come from college-educated, upper-income, white households. In a report she co-wrote, the phenomenon was called “a reverse Robin Hood effect.”
[Source: Miami Herald]