FAFSA for All: Improving Educational Attainment in Florida
By ensuring every high school student completes the FAFSA before graduation, Florida can increase postsecondary participation
By 2030, the “SAIL to 60” initiative aims to have 60 percent of Florida’s working-age residents equipped with a high-quality postsecondary degree, certificate, or credential of value—a critical goal to address a looming gap in the state’s labor market. But, in order for more Floridians to pursue higher education, they first must be able to pay for it.
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opens the door to grants, low-interest loans, and work-study opportunities that make college accessible to individuals with limited financial resources. Unfortunately, many students who are eligible to receive financial aid never fill out the FAFSA, often because they do not realize that they are eligible for aid or find the form too difficult to complete.
In Florida, where less than 60 percent of graduating high school students submit the FAFSA, improving completion rates could make a big difference: students who fill out the FAFSA are 84 percent more likely to immediately enroll in postsecondary education.
To make certain that universal FAFSA works, students and families must have the support they need to navigate the process and complete the application in time to be eligible for aid. Students who need the most financial support often struggle to complete the FAFSA and are more likely to file their FAFSAs late, which can limit their available resources and educational choices. With nearly 60 percent of Florida jobs requiring postsecondary education, ensuring that students have as much support as possible is vital to our state’s future workforce.
Florida has the opportunity to lead the nation in developing a skilled, credentialed workforce by making sure that every student can access the resources they need to launch their careers. Universal FAFSA—along with the support to fulfill it—could be key to making higher education affordable and accessible.
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