FAFSA or TAFSA Financial Aid Requirement for Graduation
In accordance with Texas Education Code (TEC), §28.0256, beginning with students enrolled in 12th grade during the 2021-2022 school year, each student must do one of the following in order to graduate:
- Complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA);
- Complete and submit a Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA); or
- Submit a signed opt-out form.
*Update as of October 1, 2021: The 2022-2023 FAFSA form is now open! Visit the Federal Student Aid webpage to learn more, or to apply for aid. For more information regarding the TASFA, please visit the Texas Application for State Financial Aid webpage.
Laws and Rules
In 2019, the 86th Texas Legislature established the new requirement for Texas students to complete a financial aid application (or formally opt out) in order to graduate. The State Board of Education (SBOE) adopted rules related to the new requirement in January 2021.
House Bill (HB) 3 required the commissioner to adopt rules as necessary to implement the requirement. These rules were drafted in consultation with a statewide advisory committee and were published in October 2021.
A student may opt out of the financial aid application graduation requirement if:
- a parent or guardian submits a signed form;
- the student is 18 years of age or older and submits a signed form; or
- a school counselor authorizes the student to decline to complete and submit the application for good cause.
Districts will be required to report the financial aid application graduation requirement in TSDS PEIMS for each student. A new data element and code table will be added to TSDS PEIMS for the graduate record beginning with the 2022-2023 school year. To track students' completion of the graduation requirement for the student record, this data element will also be entered in the Texas Records Exchange (TREx) System.
Data standards for the TREx System have been published. Data standards for PEIMS will publish in December 2021.
The SBOE has also given approval to update the rules for the academic achievement record to require documentation of the new graduation requirement. The proposed amendment was adopted at the April 2021 SBOE meeting.
Training and Resources
School Counselors and advisors can build their familiarity and capacity to support students through the financial aid application process now with many quality resources and tools:
- TEA has developed the following tools and resources to assist with the implementation of the graduation requirement:
- Methods of Proof and Reporting Guidance Document
- Frequently Asked Questions (coming soon)
- Student Notification Template (coming soon)
- Financial Aid in Four Video Series (coming soon)
- Texas OnCourse Financial Aid Resources: TEA has partnered with Texas OnCourse to produce a hub of financial aid completion resources including toolkits for students, parents, educators, and community partners.
- Texas OnCourse Academy offers free online asynchronous training for educators. Three key modules will support foundational knowledge of financial aid applications and processes.
- Basic Principles of Financial Aid
- ApplyTexas Counselor Suite enables districts to access FAFSA completion data for their students.
- Federal Student Aid is the definitive source for information on the FAFSA and federal aid processes.
- State Financial Aid Program Resources provides an overview of the TASFA and state aid opportunities.
- Texas Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (TASFAA) offers current information about student services, financial aid, legislative news and more including Financial Aid training.