Rep. Drew Hansen: Washington is 49 out of 50 in FAFSA completion. Time to fix it.

Lawmakers in Olympia are hoping to assist more students to pay for college by helping them access money that’s available but unclaimed.

If you’ve never heard of the FAFSA, you’re not alone. Apparently a whole lot of would-be college students in Washington haven’t, either, and it’s causing them to leave as much as $50 million dollars in college grants and low-cost loans on the table. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and its local counterpart is the Washington Application for State Financial Aid. State Representative Drew Hansen says Washington ranks 49th out of the 50 states in FAFSA completion rate, and he’s put together a bill to help more students learn about, and complete, these forms that could be their ticket to an affordable higher education.

HANSEN: “If we want to fix this, we’ve got to kinda run it like a campaign. We’ve got to run some ads. We’ve got to have a field operation to help people actually pull out the forms. Some of it’s going to be in high schools, and some of it’s going to be partnering with libraries. And then we’re going to prequalify people and do direct outreach to people who are receiving other state benefits.” [:18]

Hansen, a Democrat from Bainbridge Island, and several college students testified in favor of his House Bill 1835 during a House Appropriations Committee hearing Monday afternoon, and we’ll know its fate within several days.

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