Student financial aid apps will be required to Graduate in Illinois

By Capitol News Illinois staff

SPRINGFIELD — Illinois high school students will soon have to complete some form of college financial aid application as a condition of graduation.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday signed House Bill 2719, which requires that, starting in the 2020-2021 school year, high school students must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA form, or an alternative form to be created by the Illinois State Board of Education, as a condition for receiving a high school diploma.

The new law allows students and their families to opt out of the requirement by signing a document indicating they understand what the forms are and that they have chosen not to participate.

Pritzker said the goal of the new law is to increase college participation rates among high school graduates by making sure they understand what options are available to them.

“Beginning in the fall of 2020, this law will help give students the freedom to choose the pathway that’s best for them — not the path they’re forced down because nobody gave them the information to explore other options,” Pritzker said in a statement.

Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill is a lead sponsor of the bill. He said the new law should not be seen as a new barrier to high school graduation.

“This measure would allow us to maximize the number of students who apply for and receive federal student aid without creating an undue burden that stops some students from graduating,” Manar said in a statement.

The final version of the bill passed the Senate on May 28 by a vote of 39-13. The House concurred with the Senate version on June 1 by a vote of 71-39.

Photo Credit: @GovPritzker on Twitter

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