New Jersey Makes Financial Aid Applications a Graduation Requirement with the Newark Public Schools Leading the Way

[Newark, NJ] Superintendent Leὀn and the Newark Board of Education applaud Governor Murphy and the Sponsors of Bill A1181/S2054 requiring high school students to complete financial aid applications.

In Newark, the Board of Education proactively shaped the future of its students by instituting a pivotal policy change in 2022. Beginning with that graduating class and onwards, seniors in the Newark Public Schools became the first to be required to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the NJ Alternative Financial Aid Application (NJAFAA) as a graduation requirement.

As such, the enthusiasm within the District was palpable with the passage of Bill A1181/S2054, which mandates the completion of a financial aid application form for seniors across high schools throughout the state.

Superintendent Leὀn stated, “the significance of financial aid applications, recognizing the gateway they provide to numerous opportunities for students seeking financial support in their post-secondary education.” He emphasized, "Our goal is to ensure that every student is well-informed about the resources available to them for their educational journey and to learn first-hand that college is accessible to every child regardless of zip code or family income.”

Board President Council, acknowledging the benefits of completing financial aid applications, expressed excitement about the District's support for students and families, stated, “the offering of workshops to families reflects the commitment to ensuring accessibility and understanding of the process.”

The Newark Board of Education, and now the rest of the state of New Jersey, have taken a bold and forward-thinking step towards shaping a brighter future for its students with the implementation of this graduation requirement. They are fostering financial literacy, but also opening doors to educational opportunities.

Superintendent León acknowledges Chancellor Nancy Cantor from Rutgers-Newark, Dr. Charles Payne from the Cornwall Institute, Robyn Ince from the Newark City of Learning Collaborative, college partners, the district’s Office of Student Life, high school principals, school counselors, mentors, staff, parents, and students for their commitment to post-secondary success and outcomes.

About Newark Public Schools
The Newark Public Schools is the largest school district in New Jersey and dates back to 1676. The District currently enrolls over 39,000 students in 63 schools. After more than two decades of state operation and upon return to local control in 2018, the District has opened 9 new schools under Superintendent León's leadership with an additional portfolio of new options to be announced in the coming months and years. The Newark Board of Education serves as a beacon of educational excellence, dedicated to nurturing the potential of every student. With a commitment to innovation, inclusivity, and fostering a love for learning, the District continues to shape future generations and make a positive impact within the community.

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Nancy J. Deering, Acting Communications Director