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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Fewer college bound seniors on the First Coast are eligible for Florida Bright Futures scholarships this year.

The state changed the test score needed to qualify for financial help. Last year, an ACT score of 22 allowed a senior to get a Florida Medallion Scholarship that paid $77 a semester hour.

This year, the score was raised to 26 for the scholarship. Experts say the change will cut in half the number of seniors who will be able to qualify for Bright Futures.

"We are down about 50% in Medallion level scholarships, which is what most of our students get," said Nan Worsowicz, Duval County's supervisor of guidance.

The district is doing what it can to help seniors jump the hurdle to qualify.

"The counselors are busy trying to get them into test prep classes to retest," said Worsowicz.

Students have until June to qualify.

The changes in scholarship program has gotten the attention of U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. The allegation is that the change in test scores to qualify excludes poor and minority students.

Lawmakers maintain the changes were made because of the cost of the popular program.

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