DECATUR, Ill. (AP) — Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed a measure aimed at helping more Illinois students receive federal financial aid to attend college.

The new law makes completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid a requirement for graduation. The federal government uses the application to determine whether a student is eligible for federal grants and loans. Colleges and universities also use the information to decide if students qualify for other financial aid.

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Completing the form is currently optional. Supporters say some students may not know about it or may wrongly assume they can’t afford college.

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Pritzker said Friday the law “will help give students the freedom to choose the pathway that’s best for them.”

Students with extenuating circumstances may opt out of the requirement, which takes effect for the 2020-2021 school year.

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