According to a federal study released last year, there are many reasons why students don’t complete the FAFSA: a majority of families believe that they can cover the cost of school on their own or that they wouldn’t qualify for financial aid at all. On the converse side, sadly, many students either don’t know about the FAFSA or how to complete it. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and every high school senior that plans to attend college must submit the form in order to qualify for financial aid. Without it, students may get zero financial help, making college unaffordable. In recent years, the federal government has been working to make changes to the form and the process as a whole. It’s oftentimes seen as a daunting form, but technology and simplifying strategies by the U.S. Department of Education have allowed for greater ease and transparency when completing the FAFSA. This in turn is helping to set students and their parents up for success when filling out the form, making it easier to navigate, which will allow more students to qualify and have access to financial aid.However, these changes, for some states, are not enough. They want more students to fill out the FAFSA, more students to qualify for aid and more students to achieve the dream of attending college. As a result, they are making completing the FAFSA mandatory in order to graduate from high school. In 2018, Louisiana became the first state to pass a law requiring students to complete the FAFSA as a prerequisite for graduating from high school. As a result, Louisiana had a 78% FAFSA completion rate, which helped secure more financial aid for students across the state, according to a press release from the Louisiana Department of Education. Last year, Texas and Illinois both passed laws for FAFSA completion, becoming the second and third states to do so, according to CNBC. This is the first year that students from those states will be required to complete the form, which becomes available on October 1.CNBC reports that Michigan, Indiana, California and the District of Columbia are all considering similar laws.
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