Filling out Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) financial aid forms is arguably one of the biggest headaches when it comes to applying to college, and soon students may find out how much of a headache it is before even reaching college.
As reported by the New York Daily News, a new legislation proposed as part of Governor Kathy Hochul’s 2024 State of the State Address mandates all students complete FAFSA forms before graduation “in a statewide bid to boost college access.”
According to Hochul’s State of the State Address, the FAFSA maximizes access to financial aid to support postsecondary educational costs, making it an important part of the college application process. Data shows that high school seniors who complete the FAFSA have a 127% increase in attending college directly after graduation compared to those who don’t.
The good news is the U.S. Department of Education is updating the form to have fewer questions and an expanded eligibility. However, the forms were launched much later than usual, and brought with them endless glitches that shut out thousands of applicants.
Moreover, federal officials reportedly told colleges last month that FAFSA data will not be available until March.
Due to these delays, president of the New York State Financial Aid Administrators Association Patti Donahue is encouraging colleges to extend their decision deadlines to May 1st to “allow students, and their families, adequate time to consider all educational and financial aid options available.”
State University of New York Chancellor John King stated:
Those students [who do not fill out the FAFSA] miss out on dollars that would have helped them make their way through college. And more than that, there are students who never even chose to come to college because they didn’t realize the aid that was available to them.
Students who are undocumented or do not wish to fill out the FAFSA will, as an alternative, sign a waiver saying they’re aware of financial aid but choose not to apply.
While all students will still be able to graduate regardless of whether or not they complete the FAFSA, doing so “ensures that every New York student has access to the full breadth of their financial aid options and opportunities for future success.”
According to New York Daily News the new proposal already has the support of both New York public university systems.
This isn’t the only news related to New York schools either. Last month, SUNY & CUNY schools announced that they’ll now automatically grant direct admission the the top 10% of New York High School students. More on this here.