Illinois high school graduates in the Class of 2021 and beyond will be required to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or an alternative state form created by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) as part of their requirements to be eligible for their high school diploma. The new law was approved last year by the State of Illinois and takes effect this year. Louisiana and Texas have similar legislation for graduation requirements.
The law hopes to achieve greater completion rates in post-secondary education, including community colleges, universities, and vocational and trade programs. The legislation provides for a few exceptions due to extenuating circumstances. Students should check with their school counselors if they have concerns.
Jerry Pope, Dean of College Counseling for D219, sees this graduation requirement as a big step forward. According to Pope, “Every year we have students that miss out on financial assistance because they fail to complete the FAFSA. Some colleges now require the FAFSA to be eligible for merit based scholarships. I encourage every family to fill out the FAFSA form.”
District 219 will host their “Financial Aid Night” on Wednesday, Sept. 30th, “virtually” via zoom starting at 6:30 pm, and will feature a nationally renowned expert on financial aid. Please check your emails.
The new FAFSA is available on Oct. 1st, 2020. Students and their families will be using their 2019 tax information.
D219 students and their parents can also meet one on one “virtually” with a member of the Illinois Scholarship Assistance Commission (ISAC) to receive help with FAFSA questions or concerns.