State education board makes FAFSA applications or waivers a requirement

State education board makes FAFSA applications or waivers a requirement
The Alabama State Board of Education approved a proposal to require filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The Alabama State Board of Education approved a proposal to make filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid a requirement.

The new policy is to ensure that students complete or opt out of FAFSA before graduating from high school.

$47 million in Pell Grants go unclaimed by Alabama students each year because they didn’t complete the FAFSA.

Students and parents who don’t want to fill out the FAFSA may get the requirement waived by signing a form and then getting approval from a chain of people leading up to their school superintendent.

Some believe this waiver process will just be another burden on faculty.

“There will be an extra layer of work that’ll go on our schools. In some cases that’ll be school counselors. It’ll be also our career coaches that we’ve added in the last few years. And we continue to grow that line out of the Legislature. In some places they hire specific college counselors, and in some places it might be a counseling aide because we have school districts that are able to provide counseling aides,” said state Superintendent Eric Mackey.

According to the Alabama Commission on Higher Education’s database, 36% of Alabama’s high school seniors have completed their FAFSA as of last week.

The board’s approved change Thursday also requires local education agencies to provide support to graduating seniors and parents as they complete the FAFSA.

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