Florida lawmakers propose requiring financial aid forms for graduation

Under the proposal by Democrats, filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form would be a must for students.

Tampa Bay Times | By News Service of Florida | December 21, 2021

Proposals filed by House and Senate Democrats would require high school students to submit federal financial aid forms as a condition of graduation.

The similar measures (SB 698 and HB 979) were filed by Sen. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, and Rep. Dan Daley, D-Coral Springs, for the 2022 legislative session, which will start Jan. 11.

Under the bills, students would be required to fill out Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, forms to be eligible to receive diplomas, unless parents or guardians object. Parents who decline would be required to submit letters or signed forms.

The Senate bill, which is more wide-ranging, would apply the FAFSA requirement to students entering ninth grade in the 2023-24 school year, while the House bill would go into effect for the 2022-23 academic year. Daley filed the House bill Monday, saying in a statement the legislation was inspired by an idea from students at McArthur High School in Hollywood through a program called the Democracy in Action Initiative.

“Filling out a FAFSA is one of the most important steps students and their families can take to pay for college or technical education. This legislation will encourage students to take advantage of federal aid through grants, scholarships and loans,” Daley said in a statement.

While the Cruz and Daley bills have differences, Daley’s office Monday said a Senate version of his bill will be filed by Sen. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park.

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