SECTION 1. Section 1D of Chapter 69 of the Massachusetts General Laws, as appearing in the 2018 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting after paragraph (iii) the following: -
(iv) It is hereby declared to be the policy of the commonwealth to maximize federal and state postsecondary financial aid options through the encouragement and requirement of graduating students to complete the applicable application for federal and state financial aid.
Before graduating from high school, each student must complete and submit a free application for federal student aid, also known as FAFSA.
A student is not required to comply with subsection (a) if: (1) the student ’s parent or guardian submits a signed form indicating that the parent or guardian authorizes the student to decline to complete and submit the financial aid application; or (2) the student signs and submits the form referenced in subsection (1) on the student ’s own behalf if the student is 18 years of age or older; or (3) the student’s school district applies for a hardship waiver to be approved by the department of elementary and secondary education, if the student has not reached 18 years of age.
Each school district shall adopt a form to be used for the purposes of subsection (b) that is approved by the department of elementary and secondary education.
Completion of the Free Application for Student Financial Assistance, also known as FAFSA, shall be a condition for high school graduation.
Prior to completion of high school, each school district shall ensure that every student complies with subsection (a) or (b).
The commissioner shall provide guidance to districts to related to the implementation of this section regarding the distribution of information related to this requirement, reporting requirements expected of school districts, and information to parents and guardians related to all options for high school students. Provided further, each district must annually report to the department of elementary and secondary education by September 30 the following: number of students completing and submitting the free application for federal student aid; the number of students who received an exemption to this requirement through paragraph (iv) subsection (b).
SECTION 2. Section 1 of this act shall take effect on January 1, 2022.
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