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home : news : state news free September 16, 2019

8/3/2019 11:01:00 AM
Manar's measure to help students pursue financial aid is signed into law

SPRINGFIELD – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) that seeks to increase Illinois' Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion rate became law after being signed by Gov. JB Pritzker Friday.

"We need to make sure every student is aware of what the FAFSA is and the benefits they can derive from it," Manar said. "Tuition rates are skyrocketing and students should be empowered to use every tool they have to deal with increasing costs."

House Bill 2719 would require all students graduating high school to complete the FAFSA.

If a student does not wish to fill out the FAFSA, he or she has the option to fill out a waiver acknowledging that they know what the FAFSA is and they have chosen not to file it.
Students are also exempt if they are unable to meet the requirement due to extenuating circumstances as determined by a principal.

"Not every student wishes to complete the FAFSA and that's why we wanted to make sure we included a provision allowing students to opt out of the requirement," Manar said. "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."

Funding received from FAFSA can also be used to pay trade school and vocational certification.

"It's important to note that FAFSA is an important step not just for students seeking a post-secondary degree, but also those who choose to pursue a vocational career or go to trade school," Manar said. "We want students to be aware of the opportunity and take advantage of it."

Illinois is the second state in the nation to require students to fill out the FAFSA.

Only Louisiana currently requires FAFSA completion. After enacting the requirement, the state improved its FAFSA completion rate by 25.9 percent in just one year.

House Bill 2719 will take effect immediately.

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