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West Virginia lawmakers have allocated funding to assist students affected by delays in FAFSA processing

Republican Del. JB Akers speaks (Via Daniel Burry/Getty Images)

West Virginia students facing financial challenges to attend college in one of the nation’s poorest states may receive assistance following issues with a new federal student aid application. A bill passed by state lawmakers allocates $83 million for higher education, with $51 million designated for grants to help students cover tuition costs.

Colleges and universities in the state have experienced a significant 26% decline in applications, which has been described as “dramatic and devastating” by Republican Senate Majority Leader Tom Takubo.

Additionally, lawmakers approved $183 million for the state agency responsible for supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, following extensive debate on its allocation and usage.

This special legislative session focused on addressing the needs of vulnerable groups in West Virginia, where one in four children live in poverty.

Mike Jhonson (Via Donald Tse/Shutterstock)

Governor Jim Justice recently declared a state of emergency, allowing students to receive state scholarships even if their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has not been processed by the federal government.

Delays in updating the FAFSA application, intended to simplify the process, have caused uncertainty for college applicants, affecting their ability to receive federal Pell Grants. This delay has also shortened the time available for colleges to offer financial aid packages and for students to make decisions about enrollment.

In response, the Legislature passed a resolution urging the federal government to expedite FAFSA processing and extended Governor Justice’s state of emergency until at least October 15.

“We’re discussing the future of children in our communities who are relying on us right now, along with families who hope and pray that we can come together to resolve a problem we didn’t create,” remarked Republican Delegate Brandon Steele during Tuesday’s session in the House.

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