By Troy Miller
Senior Researcher and Policy Analyst, Florida College Access Network
As of March 15, nearly 73% of Florida high school seniors have failed to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). According to the most up-to-date data released by the U.S. Department of Education’s FAFSA Completion Tool, just 27.1% of Florida high school seniors had finished the key document which secures them access to Pell Grants, loans, work-study jobs and scholarships like Bright Futures.
The data provided by the federal government allows each school the ability to track its progress with the number of seniors who have completed the FAFSA. Previously, high schools estimated their FAFSA completion rate using self-reported surveys, which proved to be unreliable. FAFSA data reporting first began in 2012 so we have the ability to track changes in FAFSA completions by school and from this year to last. Compared to last school year (as of March 15th), the rate of high school seniors in Florida completing FAFSAs has remained flat (27.1% this year, 27.5% last year). Current and previous FAFSA completion reports can be found at floridacollegeaccess.org in the “Research & Data” section.
Below we have developed a map that shows the FAFSA completion rate for high school seniors in each county as of March 15. We will continue to update the map, as well as our state-wide calculations, as federal updates are released every other week through June.
~Follow Troy Miller on Twitter @TroyMillerFCAN