Senator Rick Scott visits Panama City to discuss higher education


PANAMA CITY, Fla (WMBB)– With student loan debt on the rise, Senator Rick Scott found time to sit down with local students and university officials to discuss higher education. A common concern was figuring out how to pay for college in today’s economy.

“Financial aid is a huge part of the college experience…some people can’t go because of financial aid and it’s a huge part of my experience so I felt like it was really important to come and get the issues heard so some answers can possibly happen,” said Emily Cobb, an elementary education student.

Scott sat down with dozens of students on the FSU Panama City campus. All of them voiced concern for the student loan debt they face after college.

“One thing we have to figure out is to make sure these students can get out of school with as little as debt as possible. We have to make sure all of our schools do everything they can to help these students…it was great to talk to these students and get their ideas,” said Rick Scott, Senator for Florida.

Students also shared their personal frustrations. One student, a member of the ‘Bright Futures’ scholarship program, still has trouble paying for tuition even after receiving aid.

“I’ve been denied scholarships because of my parents income but Bright Futures doesn’t cover it either so then I’m stuck at ‘Do I take out loans?’, “Am I able to work because of the course load?’, and that’s something that I think needs to be addressed because there’s this gap of people that are ineligible for financial aid because of different situations like that,” Cobb said.

Many students raised concerns as to why their eligibility for grants was based on their parents income. Those same students explaining that their parents are not paying for their tuition at all.

Scott says he will work hard to keep tuition low. He says engaging in discussions like these is a great way to make a change.

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