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(General) Subject: FSA Tool Publishes FAFSA Completion Numbers for the High School Graduating Class of 2013

Posted Date:February 19, 2013

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

Subject: FSA Tool Publishes FAFSA Completion Numbers for the High School Graduating Class of 2013

FSA Tool Publishes FAFSA Completion Numbers for the High School Graduating Class of 2013

Tool provided completion numbers for over 24,000 high schools across the country in 2012

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. 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.

Earlier this month, FSA updated and enhanced the FAFSA Completion Tool by revealing FAFSA submission and completion totals for the current year, as well as FAFSA submission and completion totals for the same time last year. With this addition, 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 2013–14 application year as well as comparison data from the 2012–13 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.

Last year, the Tool provided FAFSA submission and completion data for the senior classes at over 24,000 high schools in all 50 states, Washington, DC, and all U.S. territories. More than 30,000 visitors accessed the data throughout the spring of 2012 to inform their local FAFSA completion strategies and overall college access initiatives. There are indications the Tool has contributed to raising FAFSA awareness across the country with more than 500,000 seniors having submitted a 2013–14 FAFSA through the end of January this year. This represents a 9 percent increase compared to early submissions during January 2012.

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. It provides college access professionals, counselors, and school administrators with a key verifiable outcome metric proven essential for students’ access to federal financial resources for postsecondary education. At the same time, 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.

For more information on the Tool and to search updated FAFSA Completion Data by High School for the senior class of 2013, visit StudentAid.gov/FAFSA-HS-data.

Last Modified: 02/18/2013