EPI's weekly illustration of education data trends — October 24, 2018

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Percentage of College-Age Population Submitting a FAFSA

(2006-07 to 2013-14)


In the United States, students must complete the Free Application of Federal Student Aid (FASFA) form to receive federal financial aid for college, inclusive of grants and loans. Thus, the measure of students completing and submitting a FAFSA is an important indicator of college access. The graphic below illustrates the percentage of 18-24-year olds that completed a FAFSA for the years 2006-07 to 2013-14. As illustrated, the percentage of submissions has increased considerably in the seven years of this study from 46 percent to 61 percent. The highest rate achieved was 68 percent in 2011-12, when enrollment was also up due in large part to the great recession. Of interest is the statistic that only 40.5 percent of 18- to 24-year olds were enrolled in degree-granting colleges and universities in 2015, even though the percentage of the same age population completing the FAFSA is 50 percent higher. (see here)

NOTE: Each value equals the number of FAFSA submissions in an academic year, including first-time and returning undergraduate and graduate students, divided by the number of persons 18- through 24-years-old in the ending year of that academic year.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education (2018, August). Trends in Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Submissions. WEB TABLES. National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences. Tables prepared by David Radwin and Annaliza Nunnery, RTI International.


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