Increasing student access to grants and scholarships should be a shared goal. Such opportunities can be the deciding factor in students seeking and completing additional education or training beyond high school. That post-secondary attainment is closely linked to personal prosperity and often self-esteem.
Senate Bill 54 would ensure greater access to those vitally important grants and scholarships. The Indiana legislation requires high school seniors to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid—referred to as FAFSA—or have a parent, principal or counselor waive that requirement.
Unfortunately, there are many myths being pushed by the opposition to distract from the facts.
“It’s a mandate!” No. It’s a default option that is in the student’s best interest.
“It’s an administrative burden!” The Indiana Commission for Higher Education tracks FAFSA completion and tells schools who have not filed.
“What about data privacy?” The FAFSA is filed online via a secure federal website.
“This will just put more students in debt.” Just the opposite: FAFSA connects students to grants and scholarships that don’t need to be repaid.
“Not everybody needs to go to college!” True, but 99% of jobs created since the last recession require some education/training beyond high school, including short-term training certificates and apprenticeships that require FAFSA for eligibility.
SB 54 will lead to more individuals in the talent pipeline and help break the cycle of poverty for those in low-income households.
If legislators want to do what’s right for students and is in their best interest, they will pass SB 54.
Indiana Chamber of Commerce vice president of education and workforce development