New financial aid requirement goes into effect for graduating students

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 5:40 PM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - As a result of a new requirement that went into effect this year, Texas high school seniors will have to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the Texas Application for State Financial Aid and or submit an opt-out form in order to graduate.

The change is part of a bill signed into law in 2019 and will apply to seniors graduating in 2022.

“This isn’t something that school districts have a choice in,” said Nancy Patterson, chief college, career & military readiness officer with Killeen ISD.

“It was written into the Texas education code as a high school graduation requirement.”

Students with no interest in higher education after high school will have to fill out the opt out form.

Part of the reason for the new requirement is the Texas Education Agency noticed many students were not applying for financial aid.

“Some students may not think they can afford to go to college - and that’s where our job comes in as counselors - to help them out to try to get to that next level,” said Kevin Wilburn, a Temple High School counselor.

Those eligible for aid through FAFSA include U.S. citizens. Non-citizens could be eligible for state aid through TASFA.

For counselors in the area, there is an expectation the work-load will pick up to address every graduating student.

“It’s definitely a partnership. The school district can’t do the work on behalf of the students,” Patterson said. “We’ve got to have the students and parents engaged in the process to do. And the application does seem kind of scary.”

See below dates an information from Killeen and Temple ISDs:

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