Now Available: #FormYourFuture FAFSA Tracker

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Getting more students to complete the FAFSA is a crucial step in expanding college access and a new online tool makes it easier than ever for states and communities to monitor their progress.

The #FormYourFuture FAFSA Tracker, launched on Monday, tracks and ranks states’ progress toward getting 100 percent of their high school seniors to file for federal financial aid.

The interactive online dashboard, which is updated weekly, also includes city-specific data.

Users can chart their week-by-week progress, see how their community compares to other states and cities, and even check how this year’s completion rates stack up against data from last year.

“By allowing states and locales to compare their outcomes with peers and others across the nation, (this tool) aims to inspire a little friendly competition in our collective quest to ensure that all students, especially those underrepresented in higher education, can afford to achieve their educational dreams,” according to a blog post announcing the new tool.

The FAFSA Tracker is part of the #FormYourFuture campaign — a National College Access Network (NCAN) effort aimed at increasing the number of low-income and underrepresented students who file for federal financial aid.

Although the vast majority of students who go to college get some form of financial aid, only 61 percent of high school seniors file a FAFSA by graduation, national data show.

The result? Federal student aid dollars go unclaimed, and too often, students who could have qualified for assistance believe college enrollment isn’t economically feasible.

State- and city-wide efforts to boost FAFSA completion address both issues.

Students who file the FAFSA are 63 percent more likely to attend college, according to NCAN data. And research shows student postsecondary persistence rates increase by 4 percentage points for every additional $1,000 received in grant aid.

Learn more about the #FormYourFuture FAFSA Tracker and check out free FAFSA completion tools and resources.

Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

 

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