A bill recently voted out of the Pennsylvania Senate Education Committee would require every high school student – or their parent or guardian – to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (commonly referred to as FAFSA) form in order to graduate.
Students would also have the opportunity to opt-out of this requirement for graduation.
FAFSA Requirement for High School Graduation in Pennsylvania
The legislation – Senate Bill 750 – was introduced to the State Senate earlier this month by a group of 10 lawmakers, including Sen. Dave Argall (R-29), who serves Schuylkill County. Sen. Scott Martin (R-13) is the sponsor of this bill.
“We are seeing troubling trends in Pennsylvania, both economically and demographically. We need to encourage more young people to learn here, get jobs here, and build a life here,” Martin says. “Creating a universal FAFSA completion policy will open up more doors for young people to advance their careers without missing out on chance to train for quality jobs simply because they don’t know what programs or funding packages are available to them.”
SB 750 would mandate filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as a graduation requirement, effective from the 2024-2025 school year. Specifically, the legislation stipulates:
Either the parent or guardian of each student, or the student themselves if they are at least 18 years old or legally emancipated, must meet one of the two requirements as a prerequisite to receiving a high school diploma from a public high school:
- They must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid with the United States Department of Education.
- They must sign and file a statement with the student’s school district stating that they understand the purpose of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or have chosen not to file the application. This statement would be on a form developed by the Department of Education, in consultation with the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.
The goal of this legislation, according to a recent statement from Argall, is to encourage high school students to consider financial aid opportunities for higher education.
SB 750 passed out of the Senate Education Committee on a partisan vote of 7-4, with all Republican Senators backing its passage. It’ll now go before the full Senate for a vote in the future.