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06/20/2024 01:43 AM
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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: April 19, 2023 09:09 AM
From: Senator Scott Martin
To: All Senate members
Subject: Universal Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA) Completion
Please join me in co-sponsoring legislation that would ensure more young people file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) to better understand their higher education funding options.
Currently, students pursuing post-secondary education have the option to complete and file a FASFA in order to be considered for federal, state and school financial aid programs. This includes grants, scholarships, loans and work-study programs designed to help students pay for higher education.
My legislation will require high school seniors to complete the FAFSA or opt out on a form provided to parents or guardians.
In many cases, our students are missing opportunities for higher education because they are unaware of financial assistance and resources that might be available to them. They should graduate high school with all the available tools and resources needed to pursue higher education. Education empowerment and access is a priority, and I believe this new policy proposal will help Pennsylvania achieve similar successes as other states.
Numerous studies have shown that students who complete the FASFA are significantly more likely to continue their studies after high school.
Several other states have enacted similar laws. Louisiana enacted legislation to require students to complete the FASFA beginning in the 2017-18 school year; and now leads the nation with nearly 79% of its high school seniors completing the FASFA compared to only 44% in 2013.
During budget hearings held by the Senate Appropriations Committee, of which I chair, the Chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and representatives of the Commonwealth’s state-related universities, including Penn State University President Neeli Bendapudi, Ph.D., expressed support for a statewide universal FAFSA policy.
In addition, last week, the Pennsylvania Department of Education issued a press release encouraging Pennsylvanians to submit their FASFA by May 1, 2023. All first-time applicants enrolled in a community college; business, trade, or technical school; hospital school of nursing; designated Pennsylvania open-admission institution; or nontransferable two-year program do have an extended deadline the first year they file by August 1, 2023. There are numerous school districts across the Commonwealth that have 50% or higher student FASFA completion, but we must do better.
It is also critical we find ways to address the needs of our workforce across Pennsylvania; we need skilled workers in a wide array of fields. Creating a universal FAFSA requirement will ensure all students understand the type of aid that is available to them so they can make an informed decision about their education and career training options.
Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation. 

Introduced as SB750