A completed FAFSA (Free Application Federal Student Aid) is essential for college students hoping to receive scholarships, grants or loans. Indeed, the Stark Community Foundation’s nearly 100 local scholarship opportunities require a FAFSA Student Aid Report to complete an application.
The current pandemic has impacted every aspect of society including college entrance and persistence rates. Recent news has documented the drop in Fall 2020 enrollments as students and families face budgeting and financial challenges. A ripple effect of these considerations has been a decrease in the number of FAFSA applications.
As of December 2020, Ohio FAFSA applications for the 2021-22 school year were down 10.9%1 and Stark County high school student applications were down 8.4%. This decrease is unfortunate as NCAN data reflect that 92% of students from low income families would qualify to receive grants.
One might say that the drop in applications for aid was counterintuitive to addressing the challenge."FAFSA non-completion rates present an enormous opportunity because FAFSA completion is so strongly correlated with good postsecondary student outcomes."
Students who file a FAFSA can go a step further by using College Scorecard
to determine the return on investment for their education – in any field – as well as the most advantageous way to achieve those credentials.