A ‘universal FAFSA’ law could be adopted in New York as budget negotiations continue

A ‘universal FAFSA’ law could be adopted in New York as budget negotiations continue

T’Kai Harvey, a sophomore at the City University of New York’s Hunter College, didn’t see college as an option for most of her life.

“I come from a very low-income community in the Bronx,” she said. “So I wasn’t going to go to college and financially burden my family.”

But in her senior year of high school, Harvey learned about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, through her school, working with a counselor at her school who helped her complete the forms and secure the financial support she needed to fund her education.

Now, Harvey, along with other advocates and some lawmakers, is calling for a “universal FAFSA” law requiring all high school students to complete a financial aid application or submit a waiver opting out by the time they graduate.

The push has gained some traction in Albany, where a proposed law seeking to establish the requirement could be included in the state budget expected later this week. Gov. Kathy Hochul included a universal FAFSA policy in her budget proposal earlier this year, and on Monday, Hochul announced her administration would send letters to high school seniors with tips on completing the FAFSA, while urging principals to ensure students have the resources they need to access financial aid.

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