Sep 10, 2019

Louisiana Spotlighted by National Media as Other States Adopt Similar Policies

BATON ROUGE, La. - Louisiana's Financial Aid Access Policy--the first of its kind in the nation--has become a model for other states looking to increase equitable access to post-secondary opportunities for all students. Louisiana's policy, which was passed in 2015 and put into effect in 2018, requires all public high school graduates to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a TOPS scholarship form, or indicate they do not plan to apply for financial aid by submitting a waiver.

Legislatures in both Texas and Illinois recently passed laws emulating Louisiana's policy. In addition, Michigan is considering similar policies, and Indiana and California reportedly are not far behind.

"It's an honor when other states look at what we're doing in Louisiana as a model for their own plans," said State Superintendent John White. "These state actions, especially given the size of the states in question, have the potential to expand higher education access for hundreds of thousands of graduates from historically disadvantaged backgrounds."

Louisiana has seen success since the implementation of the Financial Aid Access Policy. In 2018, the Bayou State, for the first time, became No.1 in the nation for the number of students completing the federal financial aid form, and No.1 in the nation for year-over-year growth in the number of those applications. In 2018, according to the National College Access Network (NCAN), 77.1 percent of students completed the form by the July 1 priority deadline, an increase of 25.9 percent over the previous year. Louisiana's percent increase from 2017 to 2018 represented over 19 percent of the entire nation's increased number of FAFSA completions, NCAN reported.

That trend continued this year, with 78.7 percent of Louisiana students completing the form in the same time frame and again boosting Louisiana to the No.1 spot in the nation, according to NCAN. 

The financial aid form also likely contributed to more Louisiana students enrolling in college in 2018 than ever before. College enrollment data for the Class of 2019 will be announced in spring 2020.

Related National Media Coverage

To graduate, file a FAFSA, more high school seniors are told (The New York Times)

It's time to require completion of the FAFSA for high school graduation (Forbes)

More states are mandating high schoolers complete the FAFSA--But is it helping? (NASFAA)

Podcast: How has mandating the FAFSA played out in Louisiana? (NASFAA)

Does requiring seniors to fill out FAFSA forms increase college attendance? (Education Dive)

Making the FAFSA mandatory (Inside Higher Ed)

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