Statement: “Gov. Pritzker Helps to Make College More Affordable with More Access to Federal Aid”

college tuition
“College”by Tax Credits is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Springfield, IL-(ENEWSPF)- “Governor JB Pritzker is making college more affordable for students with a new law to increase FAFSA completion in high schools, giving thousands more Illinois students access to federal aid,” Governor Pritzker’s office said in a statement Friday.

The statement continues: 

“We want to be the kind of state that makes college affordable so our brightest minds can stay right here in Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Beginning in the fall of 2020, this law will help give students the freedom to choose the pathway that’s best for them – not the path they’re forced down because nobody gave them the information to explore their options. My administration will do everything in our power to make college an option for any student who wants that opportunity.”

Beginning with the 2020-2021 school year, high school students will complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or an alternative state form created by Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) as a part of their requirements for graduation. Students with extenuating circumstances may complete a waiver to opt-out of the program. 

Increased completion rates will ensure more federal dollars are allocated toward Illinois students. Currently, only 59 percent of Illinois students complete the FASFA application which ranks the state 9th in FASFA completion.

House Bill 2719 takes effect on January 1, 2020.

“Not every student wishes to complete the FAFSA and that’s why we wanted to make sure we included a provision allowing students to opt-out of the requirement,” said Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill). “This measure would allow us to maximize the number of students who apply for and receive federal student aid without creating an undue burden that stops some students from graduating.”

“I was proud to work on this legislation with Sen. Manar to make sure that students in Illinois are taking advantage of the tools that exist to give them more accessibility to college or vocational school programs,” said Rep. Katie Stuart (D-Edwardsville). “Every student in Illinois deserves the opportunity to pursue higher education, and ensuring that students fill out the FAFSA is a critical step towards achieving that goal.”

Making college more affordable and accessible is a key priority for Governor Pritzker, who earlier signed a budget that expands merit-based scholarships and tuition grants to nearly 10,000 additional students. The bipartisan budget also reverses a 20-year trend and makes a significant down payment on rejuvenating funding Illinois’ nine public university systems and our community colleges.

This is a release from Governor JB Pritzker’s office.