The class of 2022 will be the first to fall under the new law. (Graphic by Michelle Degard/Community Impact Newspaper) The U.S. Department of Education offers a checklist for students preparing for college. (Graphic by Michelle Degard/Community Impact Newspaper) Before graduating high school, Texas students will be required to satisfy one of the above requirements. (Graphic by Michelle Degard/Community Impact Newspaper) Starting with the class of 2022, Texas high school students will be required to complete and submit a free federal or state financial aid form. (Graphic by Michelle Degard/Community Impact Newspaper) The cost of college continues to increase, but too often, financial aid officials say, students fail to tap into existing resources, resulting in “money left on the table.”
A state law passed last year could help. Included in House Bill 3, which focused on school finance reform, is a requirement that all high school students fill out and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, prior to graduating. Current high school sophomores who graduate in 2022 will be the first to fall under the new law.
“People feel that if you complete the FAFSA, you’d be more inclined to want to go to college [and] to learn more about financial aid,” said Jerel Booker, assistant commissioner for college readiness and success with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. “A lot of people feel the biggest reason … students aren’t going is because of costs.”
Students who apply for federal aid may become eligible for grants, scholarships, loans, study-abroad aid, work-study jobs or tax benefits. Many colleges and universities also use the completed form to determine the financial aid they will be willing to provide to students.
Charlotte Winkleman, the director of guidance and counseling at Hays CISD, said she thinks the new state rules under HB 3 can help increase enrollment in higher education.
“The research is pretty clear,” Winkleman said. “If they can’t pay for it, or they think they can’t pay for it, they’re probably not even going to apply.”
Law to require applications
The Texas Education Agency mandated that students in the state fill out a […]