NAPERVILLE, Ill. – State Rep. Janet Yang Rohr, D-Naperville, recently sponsored a new law that will require the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) to assist high school seniors in its care fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to apply for financial aid for college.
“In Illinois, all high school students are required to fill out the FAFSA before graduation as a way to ensure they can access any financial aid that they are eligible for,” said Yang Rohr. “For students in the care of DCFS, filling out the FAFSA can be a difficult task, with some students not having the necessary documents or adequate guidance on how to fill the form accurately, which could result in them losing access to financial aid.”
The FAFSA is the first step in the financial aid process for students applying to college, and it is used to apply for federal student financial aid such as grants, loans and work study. In Illinois, the application is also used to determine the need for state-awarded Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants. In addition, postsecondary schools use information from the FAFSA to award non-federal financial aid. Yang Rohr sponsored Senate Bill 63, which requires DCFS to ensure that every individual in its care has the necessary documents required to fill out their FAFSA form or an application of state financial aid and that they fill out the form by the deadline. Yang Rohr’s measure passed with bipartisan support and was signed by the governor last week.
“Many students under the care of DCFS can benefit from federal or state financial aid, so it’s critical that they are given the support needed to navigate financial aid forms,” said Yang Rohr. “Under this new law, we are ensuring that children in DCFS care are not placed at a larger disadvantage and are able to receive any financial aid available to them to help them succeed in their postsecondary education careers.”