Governor Adopts Jacobson’s FAFSA Bill

A bill (A8953) sponsored by Assemblymember Jonathan Jacobson (D-104) requiring high school seniors to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now part of Governor Hochul’s Executive Budget. If this section of the budget passes, Jacobson’s bill will become law.

In a section of the budget proposing new laws, the Governor submitted language that mirrors Jacobson’s legislation to ensure that each high school senior in the state completes the FAFSA or signs a waiver.

All colleges and universities require students to complete the FAFSA to be considered eligible for financial aid, but not all students are taking advantage. A recent analysis from the National College Attainment Network found that the high school class of 2022 lost out on nearly $3.6 billion in Pell Grants because they didn’t complete the FAFSA. Pell grants pay up to $7,395 per student per year.

“The biggest obstacle for people going to college is the cost. And the way to get the cost down is to get scholarships and grants,” Jacobson said. “Unfortunately, you have to complete the FAFSA to get this financial aid, and that’s very difficult to do.”

Jacobson spoke at a press conference this week hosted by the nationwide youth advocacy group Young Invincibles, along with Senator Andrew Gounardes, who is sponsoring the bill in the Senate (S8148).

“Education can be the great equalizer, but only if it’s accessible and affordable,” said Jacobson during the event, noting that students in New York left $200 million of aid on the table in 2022. “By requiring and assisting high school students to complete the FAFSA, we are fulfilling our obligation to expand opportunity to all by making college more affordable, and therefore available to all.”

This bill is one of several pieces of legislation sponsored by Jacobson related to helping expand opportunities for high school students. In addition to the FAFSA bill, Jacobson proposed another bill requiring high school students to take a class in financial literacy before graduation (A.2298). The financial literacy proposal was adopted by the State Education Department’s Blue Ribbon Panel and will be acted upon later in the spring. Jacobson is also proposing that the Excelsior Scholarship program be expanded to part-time students at colleges or BOCES (A946).

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