Mandatory FAFSA with Supports
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Mandatory FAFSA, But Only with Adequate Supports

Louisiana requires FAFSA completion for high school graduation. Texas and Illinois have also passed the requirement and are working to implement it in coming FAFSA cycles. At least another eight states are currently considering bills to mandate FAFSA completion as well.

Data show that FAFSA completion increases a student's chances of enrollment and persistence in higher education. In Louisiana, FAFSA filing rates have jumped dramatically and enrollment increases show promise.

States hoping to increase FAFSA completion for high school seniors should consider the following set of ideas.

NCAN recommends that states:

  • Require FAFSA completion for high school graduation though legislative or other policy vehicles.
  • Include a robust opt-out system for students who are unable to access parental financial information, have undocumented parents, or whose parents allow them to abstain.
  • Provide, at minimum, one full FAFSA cycle from the bill passing or the item being administratively added to the list of requirements to the actual requirement taking affect.
  • Make the change administratively in states where high school graduation requirements do not live in statute.
  • Confirm, and build/provide if necessary, robust training and supports through school counselors and/or college access advisers to ensure students have the support they need to meet the requirement.
  • Provide regular data-sharing on completion to high schools and community-based organizations to allow for better-targeted FAFSA completion efforts.

Mandatory FAFSA resources: