CHICAGO – Legislation backed by state Rep. Justin Slaughter, D-Chicago, requiring all high school seniors to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) was signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker last week.
“Unfortunately, there are many barriers to getting a higher education in the U.S., especially for students in low-income communities,” said Slaughter. “Students often put off applying to college because of the cost of tuition, and they may not know how much financial aid is available to them. Requiring high school students across Illinois to complete FAFSA can help remove those barriers and allow more students to have successful academic careers, regardless of their background or income.”
Slaughter supported House Bill 2719, which will require public high school students to complete FAFSA forms as a condition of graduation. Students and their parents or guardians will be able to opt out of the requirement if they can attest that they understand what FAFSA is and are choosing not to file. This requirement is modeled after a similar measure in Louisiana that helped the state’s FAFSA completion rates increase from being among the lowest in the nation to one of the highest. The bill was signed into law last week by the governor.
“We need to do everything we can to ensure that our students are able to seek higher education and pursue their goals,” said Slaughter. “Applying for financial aid can be confusing, especially for first generation college students. By making sure students have access to financial aid and are able to complete FAFSA forms, we can help prepare them for college and a meaningful career.”