November 27, 2012
Christian College No Longer 'Too Religious' for Florida Grants
Court settlement removes "secularity checklist" for state aid.
Beginning in 2013, students at Florida Christian College (FCC) in Kissimmee, Florida, will be eligible to receive funds from the Florida Resident Access Grant (FRAG), a popular grant program that previously excluded FCC for being too religious.
But a federal court ruled in favor of FCC earlier this month, allowing four student plaintiffs in the case to receive FRAG grants next semester and requiring the state's Department of Education (DOE) to admit FCC as an eligible institution next fall.
FCC previously had been excluded from FRAG eligibility for failing to meet the "secular purpose" requirement outlined by Florida state law. According to the Alliance Defending Freedom, the school filed suit in March because the state's DOE "had determined that FCC was 'too religious,' even though many of its courses address 'secular' subjects and it prepares many of its students for 'secular' vocations."
As part of the settlement, Florida's DOE must revise its eligibility requirements "so that it no longer asks institutions to declare whether they are 'secular' or 'non-secular.'"