Students at Florida Christian College are now eligible for state
grants they had formerly been denied.
Students at FCC had been barred from the Florida Resident Access
Grant program that, under state statute, awarded grants provided a
school "has a secular purpose." The Florida Department of Education
had qualified 31 other state schools (including many religious
colleges and universities), but had excluded FCC because it was
"too religious" to qualify.
Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal
lawsuit in March on behalf of the school. Last week, school
officials agreed to a settlement that allows FCC's students to
participate in the program. ADF senior legal counsel Greg Baylor
says the state DOE was out of bounds -- and had wrongly interpreted
the statute to exclude what it defined as "pervasively sectarian"
"It can't look at different schools and say
Well, you're religious enough or You're too
religious or You're only a little bit religious --
and then hand out benefits based on that," Baylor argues.
According to the ADF attorney, state education officials were
also engaged in a very intrusive, subjective, and arbitrary inquiry
into the school.
"[They were] looking at course catalogs and mission statements
and making judgments about whether courses were neutral or
indoctrinating," he tells OneNewsNow. "All of this stuff is
unconstitutional -- and none of it serves the purpose of the
statute, which is to simply enable Florida residents to get an
According to the settlement, all FCC students who filed suit
will receive grants for this school year and all students who
qualify will receive grants for the upcoming school year.
Illinois voters will be the judge when it comes to whether one
particular member of the bench keeps his position.