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  • Writer's pictureMichael Nelson

Student financial aid is falling short

Despite numerous opportunities, many students across the U.S. continue to not complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), leaving themselves out of consideration for potential funding. Michael Nelson, Data Lead at the Project on Workforce, examines the factors that impact FAFSA completion rates in his recent article in American Inequality

U.S Map with FAFSA completion rates

Data on who completes the FAFSA illuminates some of the reasons why students self-limit their graduation plans before understanding their options. Here are the key findings from the article:

  • Student financial aid is critical for educational opportunity, but few students in these states get the support they need.

  • Private school students are 20% more likely to complete applications for financial aid, widening gaps with public school peers.

  • Higher need students are less likely to complete the FAFSA, varying significantly by state.

  • Schools with mostly non-White students have 10% lowers FAFSA completion rates.

  • Asian students are most likely to apply for financial aid while Native/Indigenous students are least likely.

Read the full article and recommendations for the path forward: American Inequality.


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