Will the FAFSA’s earlier filing date result in increased access to higher education?
New federal data is promising.
After a four-year decline, FAFSA completions are up for the high school class of 2017, the first cohort of students who were able to file for aid starting on Oct. 1 — a full three months earlier than previously allowed.
As of June 30, the FAFSA completion rate for the high school class of 2017 was 61 percent, an increase of 5 percentage points over the previous year.
The total number of FAFSAs filed (a figure that includes those completed by returning college students) is up 6 percentage points.
“Given the strong economy, the growth in FAFSA filing is a strong sign that individuals are turning to higher education and financial aid to pursue their goals,” Carrie Warick, NCAN’s director of policy and advocacy, wrote in a recent blog post. “…A high school student who completes the FAFSA is 63 percent more likely to attend a college, and doing so before graduation means the student is more likely to have support from a college access advisor or school counselor and to be thoughtful about where to apply to college.”
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