ALABAMA (WHNT) – More high schoolers in Alabama are filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). In fact, the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE) said the state was recently recognized for having the largest increase in completions in the nation.

Based on figures provided by the Commission, 56.7% of Alabama’s high school seniors completed the FAFSA in 2022, the 7th highest completion rate in the nation. Moreover, this is the highest increase in the country – 30% more of Alabama’s high school seniors filled out the FAFSA in 2022 than in 2021.

“That is exciting news for the state. Many of our high school graduates wanting to attend college may qualify for federal Pell Grants, but the first step is completing the FAFSA.

ACHE Executive Director Jim Purcell

The Class of 2022 is the first in Alabama that was required to fill out a FAFSA to graduate – a requirement the Commission passed in April 2021. Alabama is one of eight states that requires a FAFSA to graduate high school, joining California, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, New Hampshire, Maryland, and Texas.

The Commission stated that the push towards more postsecondary education is crucial in two key areas: Census Bureau data showing Alabama needs a more educated population and workforce and Gov. Kay Ivey’s Success Plus Initiative, calling for 500,000 more skilled workers in the state’s workforce by 2025.