Legislation to improve access to financial aid passes committee

IMG_58311A bill that would require high school students to complete Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) documents before graduation passed out of the House Education Committee Tuesday.

House Bill 87, legislation aiming to improve access to higher education, would provide awareness of costs and opportunities for aid when students consider continuing their education after high school.

Kentucky Chamber Director of Political Affairs Travis Burton said the business community is dedicated to furthering education attainment for students as well as the opportunities to build a better workforce.

The current FAFSA completion rate in Kentucky is high, but Burton said there is room for improvement and added this bill would be an important piece of achieving Kentucky’s education and workforce goals.

Rep. Regina Huff, the sponsor of House Bill 87, said the legislation allows local school boards to set up the process for completing financial aid forms. She added there is an opportunity for students/parents to opt-out of the program.

Kentucky Community and Technical College (KCTCS) President Jay Box noted the work of national education boards to improve the FAFSA application because of the barrier it has been to low-income students and stated KCTCS is willing to partner with local school districts in order to provide expertise and assist parents or guardians filling out these forms.

Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities President OJ Oleka also testified in favor of the bill stating the legislation is about improving affordability and access across the state as students could be eligible for thousands of dollars in the assistance they were unaware of.

House Bill 87 now moves to the House floor for a vote.

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Jacqueline Pitts
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