FAFSA Graduation Requirement FAQ

FAFSA Graduation Requirement FAQ
Posted on 09/07/2021

Beginning with the 2020-21 school year, in addition to all other graduation requirements, a student must meet one of the following requirements to receive a public school diploma (Public Act 101-0180):


1. File a FAFSA Application; or

2. File an Application for State Financial Aid; or

3. File a waiver/opt out with the school district.


The following FAQ Section will provide detailed information, to allow you and your family to make the best decision in completing this graduation requirement.


What is the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)? Why would I want to complete it?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the online application that allows a student to apply simultaneously for federal student aid (including the Pell Grant, work-study opportunities, and federal student loads), and the Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant. Many colleges and universities use this to determine their institution-specific aid programs, too.


The FAFSA application opens on October 1st of each year, for the following school year. So a student in the Class of 2021 would have to wait until October 1st of their senior year to begin the FAFSA. When completing the FAFSA, a student in the Class of 2021 would complete the 2021-2022 Year FAFSA (for the year they are looking to receive federal financial aid).

The link below provides instructions for completing the FAFASA form:

FAFSA Workshop Instructional Handout


What is the Application for State Financial Aid? Why would I want to complete it?


The Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid is a similar application that provides a path for some students who do not qualify for federal aid to apply for state and school-funded assistance.

Undocumented students (who cannot complete the FAFSA) and transgender students (who are unable to complete the selective service requirement for FAFSA, due to conflicts), are eligible to receive state-based aid through the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid.


What is the Waiver/Opt-Out Form? Why would I want to complete it?


The FAFSA Nonparticipation Form allows parents/guardians and students over the age of 18 to opt-out of completing the FAFSA application. The form must be completed in its entirety, and turned in (via mail or email) to our College & Career Coordinator, Mr. Liegl. His contact information is below:


Stillman Valley High School

Attn: Edward Liegl                                    OR                       [email protected]

425 S. Pine Street

Stillman Valley, IL 61084


The FAFSA Nonparticipation Form also includes an FAQ on Page 2 regarding the FAFSA application, which details why a student may want to reconsider completing the FAFSA Application. Please make sure you read over both pages of this form, before completing and turning it in to Stillman Valley High School.


Which option should I choose to complete?


This is entirely a personal & family decision. Regardless of which option you choose, students must complete one of the three options from above to fulfill their state graduation requirement.  A student and their parent/guardian must complete either 1) the FAFSA; 2) the Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid form; or 3) the FAFSA Nonparticipations Form.


If I submit the FAFSA Nonparticipation Form, can I complete the FAFSA at a later date?


Yes. Completing the FAFSA Nonparticipation Form will not prevent a student from completing the FAFSA / Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid form at a later date. The student/parent does not need to notify the school – just complete the FAFSA / Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid form as soon as possible.


What if I still have questions regarding the FAFSA / Alternative Application for Illinois Financial Aid / FAFSA Nonparticipation Form?


Please reach out to Mr. Liegl, the College & Career Coordinator, with your questions.  You can also reach out to the Illinois Student  Assistance Commission (ISAC) through their FREE texting Q&A service. To use the ISAC College Q&A texting service, just text your first & last name to (815) 242-4630, and an ISAC Representative will assist you with your questions.