Posted Date: February 11, 2014

Author:  Brenda Wensil, Chief Customer Experience Officer, Federal Student Aid

Subject: FSA Tool Publishes FAFSA Completion Numbers for the High School Graduating Class of 2014

FSA Tool Publishes FAFSA Completion Numbers for the High School Graduating Class of 2014.

Tool provided completion numbers for over 25,000 high schools across the country in 2013.

Online toolkit provides resources for educators to boost completion rates, apply for aid and more.

In March 2012, the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) announced the release of an innovative FAFSA Completion Tool to help guidance professionals, school administrators and practitioners both track and subsequently increase FAFSA completions at high schools across the country. Last year, FSA updated the FAFSA Completion Tool by revealing FAFSA submission and completion totals for that year, as well as FAFSA submission and completion totals for the same time the year before and other key benchmark dates. Building on those enhancements, the FAFSA Completion Tool—updated biweekly during the peak application period—now provides every high school in the United States whose students have completed five or more FAFSAs with information about how many applications were submitted and completed for the 2014–15 application year as well as comparison data from the 2013–14 FAFSA application year.

Last year's data provides a baseline by which school districts can gauge their efforts, set goals to improve on last year's performance, and subsequently increase FAFSA completion within their school district. School officials can determine their schoolwide FAFSA completion rates by comparing the number provided by the FAFSA Completion Tool with the number of seniors in their high school.

Prior to publishing this data, the only source of data on FAFSA completions that high schools had were from self-reported student surveys, which were highly unreliable. Through the FAFSA Completion Tool, educators have real-time access to reliable data to track FAFSA submission and completion and gauge their progress in increasing FAFSA completion. Key studies have indicated that FAFSA completion correlates strongly with college enrollment, particularly among low-income populations.

While FAFSA data is important, we encourage high schools to use this data as one component of a comprehensive college access and completion program within their school. To assist educators, counselors and others with this and other aid awareness efforts, late last year, the Department launched the Financial Aid Toolkit. The toolkit consolidates financial aid resources and content into a searchable online database, making it easy for individuals to quickly access the information they need to support their students. The toolkit provides counselors with access to valuable resources such as how to host a FAFSA completion workshop and for our social media savvy customers, the toolkit has links to sample Tweets, Facebook posts, videos, blog posts, infographics and other resources which can be used to promote FAFSA completion.

The promise of the FAFSA Completion Tool lies in its simplicity and its use of current data to effectively measure the success of FAFSA completion efforts. Last year, the Tool provided FAFSA submission and completion data for the senior classes at over 25,000 high schools in all 50 states, Washington, DC, and all U.S. territories. More than 55,000 visitors accessed the data throughout the spring of 2013 to inform their local FAFSA completion strategies and overall college access initiatives.

For more information on the Tool and to search updated FAFSA Completion Data by High School for the senior class of 2014, visit StudentAid.gov/fafsa-hs-data.

   

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