Financial Aid Graduation Requirement for Seniors

State Requires High School Seniors to File for Financial Aid for Graduation; FAFSA Application Opens October 1

New State Requirement for Graduation

In 2019, the 86th Texas Legislature established the new requirement for Texas students, starting in the 2021-2022 school year, must file a financial aid application to graduate. Districts will be required to report the financial aid application graduation requirement in TSDS PEIMS for each student. Each student must do one of the following:

  • Complete and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA);
  • Complete and submit a Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TASFA)

Students should contact their school counselor about any deadlines to file to walk with their graduating class.

FAFSA Opens October 1

Applications will begin to be accepted for the 2022-2023 school year starting on October 1, 2021. You should file your FAFSA as close to October 1 as possible to improve your chances of qualifying for the most grant, scholarship, and work-study aid. The Texas priority deadline for the FAFSA to be completed is January 15, 2021

Federal Student Aid offers over 150 billion dollars in federal student aid annually. Money is disbursed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Completing the FAFSA is one of the most important steps senior students can take to receive financial aid for college. Several types of federal work-study and many state and institutional grants and scholarships are awarded to assist students in paying for college. Students need to complete the FAFSA early, although the final deadline is June 30.

What if a Student Files Late for FAFSA?

Even if you wait until June 30, you can receive these grants and loans retroactively to cover what you’ve already paid for the spring and fall semesters. Or, depending on your school, you may be able to apply the funds to pay for summer school.

Can You Apply for FAFSA Before Applying to College? — Yes!

You can apply even if it is before you have applied or been accepted to any college. When you initially fill out the FAFSA, you only have to list one of the colleges you’re considering. You will be able to add additional colleges you are considering later on, so you don’t miss out on any financial aid.

Do gather your materials:

    • Tax returns for you if you work and/or your parents/legal guardians
    • Asset records for you and/or your parents, including bank statements and investments
    • Social Security numbers for you and your parents
    • Driver’s license or government ID
    • Federal school codes for the schools you will be applying to
    • Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID

DO fill out the FAFSA online.

    • It takes about 30 minutes.
    • Take advantage of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically transfer your tax info.

TASFA Application

If you are a foreign student, DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), or undocumented student, you may be eligible to receive state financial aid. Students who do not meet the citizenship guidelines required by FAFSA may still be eligible for financial aid in the state of Texas by completing the TASFA online. You must be a Texas resident to submit the TASFA.

Keeping Track

Track colleges’ financial aid deadlines. Priority deadlines at individual schools often fall the earliest, so those deadlines are the most important to track. Those dates are also the best chance to get the most aid. Look up the deadlines for all of the schools you’re considering.

Submit any other financial aid applications. Many schools require additional or alternative financial aid applications, such as the CSS Profile, to qualify for state or institutional aid. You’ll need to submit all the required paperwork before the deadline to be considered for financial assistance.

Wait for your financial aid award letter, which details how much free aid you qualify for and how much in federal loans you can borrow. You could appeal your award if you didn’t get enough aid.

Updates to Your FAFSA

You can make changes to the FAFSA after you’ve applied. If you spot an error or you need more aid due to a change in your family’s finances, you can update the FAFSA. Sign in to, then on the “My FAFSA” page, click on “Make FAFSA Corrections,” enter your FSA ID, change the information and resubmit your application.