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Rep.Neave, Victoria

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STATE REP. VICTORIA NEAVE FILES H.B. 535 TO OPEN THE DOORS FOR MORE TEXAS STUDENTS TO ATTEND COLLEGE BY INCREASING TEXAS’ FAFSA COMPLETION RATE  print page

by: Rep. Neave, Victoria
01/29/2019

Austin, TX ─ State Rep. Victoria Neave has filed House Bill 535 to broaden the opportunities for students to apply for federal funding to pay for college by requiring the completion of either the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (“FAFSA”) or the Texas Application for State Financial Aid ("TAFSA") form (for students not eligible to fill out the FAFSA) prior to graduating from a public high school. Currently, Texas leaves more than $300 million of federal Pell Grant funds on the table each year.

“We can transform a family and create generational change with a college degree, as well as help our Texas economy by connecting existing resources with the families who need it the most via House Bill 535,” says State Representative Victoria Neave. “As the daughter of a dad with a 6th grade education and first in my family to graduate from college, I want ensure that we open the doors for Texas students from middle and low-income families to attend college. ”

Sixty-five percent of jobs will require a certificate or 2- or 4-year degree by 2036; however, only 20.9% of Texans earned a certificate or 2- or 4-year degree in 2018 and only 62% of our low-income high school graduates enroll in Texas public higher education institutions in the Fall semester following their high school graduation. Most Texas students are eligible to receive some form of financial aid — including Pell Grants, scholarships, and loans — but to receive those funds a student must fill out the FAFSA or TAFSA. After Louisiana enacted this graduation requirement in the 2017-2018 academic year, the number of high school seniors completing the FAFSA increased so much that the state is now first in the nation for FAFSA completion.

“Even though Texas ranks 9th in the percentage of low income K-12 students, we trail state leaders like Louisiana and Tennessee by almost 30% in financial aid completion rates and leave hundreds of millions of U.S. Pell grant dollars on the table each year that would benefit our students substantially in paying for their post-secondary education. It’s critical we support them,” says Todd Williams, Chairman & CEO of the Commit! Partnership.

“Filling out the TAFSA/ FAFSA opens up debt-free college for our graduating seniors through the Dallas County Promise. This bill will increase completion of the forms and make the dream of college a reality for tens of thousands of more people,” says Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.

State Representative Victoria Neave represents Texas House District 107, which includes parts of East Dallas, Mesquite, and Garland. She serves on the House Committee on Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence and the House Committee on Corrections. She was named "Freshman of the Year" by the House Democratic Caucus and one of the "5 Best Legislators in North Texas" by the Dallas Observer.

Contact: Katy Womble

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