AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Only about 40% of Texas’ 240,000 low-income eighth-graders enroll in college four years later and the other 60% represent around $300 million of untapped federal funds available per year for their higher education, according to a video from the Texas Education Agency.

As part of the school finance reform package from the 86th Legislature, Texas will soon require all high school seniors to fill out either the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or Texas Application for State Financial Aid (TAFSA).

This will start in the 2021-22 school year. It will be a requirement for graduation. There is also an option to sign an opt-out form.

“Students in Texas, we have among some of the lowest FAFSA submission rates in the entire country,” Liz Pack, director of counseling at Collegewise’s Austin campus, said. “Louisiana was the first state that started this policy and I think that they’re seeing resounding success. They had a 25% increase, which is bringing them to one of the national leaders in students submitting FAFSA.”

By Fall 2020, the Texas Education Agency will have resources available for school districts and open-enrollment charter schools to help them implement this new requirement.

There is also an advisory committee that is in the works to make recommendations to the agency about this requirement.