(Ap. 16) – The House approved a two bills that would increase the financial aid completion rate, help identify students with dyslexia, and help Colorado’s kids succeed in college.

Rep. James Coleman sponsored a bill to help increase federal financial aid application completion rates. Colorado students missed out on as much as $50 million in financial aid last year due to students failing to complete Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms.

“We are letting our hard earned tax payer dollars go to other states because our students are not filling out their FAFSA forms,” said Rep. Coleman, D-Denver. “This bill will help Colorado get a huge return on our investment in our students, ensure more students have the tools they need to succeed and make our higher-ed institutions stronger.”

Completing a FAFSA form increases the odds that Colorado’s high school students – particularly low income students and students of color – will attain a postsecondary degree, increasing their future earnings and success. Studies show that 90 percent of high school seniors who complete FAFSA attend college directly after high school. Boosting Colorado’s FAFSA completion rate will boost our state’s college and postsecondary institution enrollment rate.

HB19-1187 passed by a final vote of 48-16. It now heads to the Senate.

The House also gave final approval to a bipartisan bill sponsored by Rep. Janet Buckner, D-Aurora, that directs the commissioner of education to convene a working group to analyze state and national data and practices concerning identification and support of students with dyslexia and to recommend dyslexia screening tools and processes.

“Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities affecting children. However, our public school system does not have a unified way of diagnosing dyslexia,” said Rep. Buckner. “This bill will implement an in-depth process to enact the most effective program for dyslexia students here in Colorado.”

HB19-1134 was unanimously approved. It now heads to the Senate.

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