Louisiana became the first state in the nation in 2018 to set FAFSA completion as a high school graduation requirement.
Since then, Illinois and Texas have adopted similar policies and several other states are weighing the option.
Officials from Louisiana recently shared their state’s story during a webinar organized by the Education Commission of the States. During the hour-long presentation, education leaders explained the process Louisiana followed when adopting the new requirement and discussed how counselors can support students as they file for financial aid.
Research suggests teens in particular need support and reassurance during times of crisis.
“Research done in past disasters suggests that it is teenagers who are the most at risk when school is interrupted,” according to a recent NPR report. “Many are forced to work to earn money or have to stay home and take care of younger siblings. They are more likely to drop out and less likely to go on to college.”