The Alabama Workforce Council expressed its strong approval on Thursday of a new state rule that requires high school seniors to complete their Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) before graduating.
The rule was approved by the Alabama State Board of Education (ALBOE) at its meeting on Thursday. The policy was supported by Governor Kay Ivey and is intended to push more students into getting college degrees and workforce credentials.
Six members of the ALBOE voted to approve the measure while three voted against it.
“This change will help more Alabamians get assistance they need for workforce training and prepare for a career pathway in a good-paying job,” said Tim McCartney, chairman of the Alabama Workforce Council, in a release.
The Alabama Workforce Council is made up of prominent individuals from the Yellowhammer State’s private sector. The council says its goal “is to facilitate collaboration between government and industry to help Alabama develop a sustainable, top-notch workforce that is competitive on a global scale.”
Students completing their FAFSA are alerted to their eligibility for financial help with college, such as the possibility of receiving Pell Grants or qualifying for a federal work-study program.
Alabama high school seniors graduating in the spring of 2022 will be the first required to complete their FAFSA before graduating.
“Federal Pell Grants are a key part of Alabama’s workforce development as more than 36 percent of these grants are awarded for certificate and associate degree programs,” noted McCartney.
“Yet in Alabama, $47 million in Pell Grants go unclaimed by students each year because they didn’t apply,” McCartney continued. “Think of how much Alabama would benefit from an additional $47 million invested into job training and education.”