When Florida lawmakers made it harder to earn a Bright Futures scholarship, they celebrated the cost savings.
But the changes to the eligibility criteria may actually come with an unforeseen price tag.
State universities say they will need an additional $45 million next year to provide more need-based financial aid, according to a new budget proposal.
"The additional funding will be targeted to ensure lower-income students who are impacted by the loss of Bright Futures scholarships and academically qualified will continue to have the opportunity to pursue higher education goals without depending solely on student loans," university officials wrote.
The Board of Governors will hear a presentation on their request Wednesday.
Prior to 2011-12, students who scored 970 or higher on their SATs were eligible to receive a Bright Futures scholarship. Now that the law has been changed, students must earn a score of at least 1170 to receive the award.
According to a staff analysis by the universities, the change affected 38 percent of last year's freshman class.
Minority students were disproportionately affected. Statewide, 47 percent of Hispanic freshman and 62 percent of Black freshman who would have received scholarships under the 2012 criteria were no longer eligible, according to the analysis.
The impact also varied by institution.
At Florida International University, for example, 60 percent of freshman were affected.
The figure was 39 percent at the University of South Florida's main campus.
"More dramatic results are expected as the final criteria changes are phased in," the university officials wrote in their report.
Democratic candidate for governor Charlie Crist was quick to blast Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who approved the changes in 2011.
"Rick Scott has put up barriers to college, making it harder for more than one of every three students trying to get an education," Crist said in a statement. "This disproportionally hurts minorities but it also hurts our entire economy."
The cost of higher education has become a political flashpoint. '
Crist has repeatedly attacked Scott's record on Bright Futures and promised to restore the cuts. (Here's PolitFact's take on it from July.)
Republicans have stood by the policy, saying the state-funded scholarships were never meant to be based on race. Meanwhile, Scott has said he helped contain the cost of a college education by creating $10,000 degrees and limiting universities' ability to raise tuition.
"After launching his latest attack, Charlie Crist needs to go back to school," Scott spokesman Greg Blair said. "As Floridians were losing their jobs and their homes, Charlie Crist did even more damage by raising taxes and tuition on middle class families and leaving schools in worse shape. Rick Scott has righted these wrongs, and Charlie Crist deserves an F in both math and history."