Education professor receives grant to evaluate Florida’s Bright Futures program

Shouping Hu

Since 1997, the Florida Bright Futures Scholarship Program has provided academic scholarships to thousands of the state’s highest-achieving high school seniors. Now, a Florida State University professor has received a major grant that will enable him to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.

Shouping Hu, a professor of higher education in FSU’s College of Education, received a $780,000, three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. With it, he will lead a research study titled “State Merit Aid Program and Student College Choice and Success: Evaluating the Efficacy of Florida’s Bright Futures Program.”

“The grant cannot come at a better time,” Hu said. “As a scholar who has longstanding interest in college access and student success in higher education, this grant will allow me to continue to do cutting-edge research in that direction and examine whether and how a high-profile state program can make a difference in student postsecondary educational opportunities.”

Bright Futures Scholarships are awarded to Florida high school seniors who have demonstrated “academic merit” and who plan to attend a public college or university within the state. Hu said is excited to begin evaluating the scholarship program and plans to hire several research assistants over the course of the grant.

“My project collaborator and I have laid out a concrete plan for the execution of the project and expected project outputs,” he said. “We are confident that we will be able to generate most rigorous empirical evidence on the efficacy of the Bright Futures program on educational outcomes in individual students, the state, and the country as a whole.”

The Institute of Education Sciences works to improve education in the United States by funding top educational researchers nationwide who seek answers on what works for students. It also conducts evaluations of large-scale federal education programs and educational projects.

For more information about Hu’s research or to schedule an interview, contact Amber Smalley of the FSU College of Education at (850) 645-7146 or