ED Announces FAFSA Completion Project Expansion

If students don’t think they can pay for college, they won’t apply for college. Giving more young people access to the tools they need to apply for federal student aid is a key part of our strategy to make America number one in the world for college graduates by 2020.

–U.S Secretary of Education Arne Duncan

In 2010, the Department of Education piloted a FAFSA Completion Project to assist local educational agencies (LEAs) and secondary school administrators in determining which of their students have completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the upcoming school year.  The pilot currently provides principals, counselors and college access professionals across participating school districts with verifiable and actionable information to use in increasing FAFSA completion among their student population.

FAFSAEarlier today, the Department of Education announced that 92 additional school districts will now have access to individualized data to help their students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Selected school districts, which span 30 states, will be able to track whether high school seniors have completed the FAFSA starting in the 2012-13 school year. Sites announced today were randomly selected from respondents to invitations posted earlier this year and consist of 80 school districts with multiple high schools, and 12 districts with a single high school.  These 92 new sites join 18 other districts that received data for the 2011-12 school year as part of the FAFSA Completion Project’s initial pilot.

Completing the FAFSA – which is used to determine eligibility for federal aid and is the gateway to other student aid – is a critical factor in helping students access higher education.  Key studies have indicated that FAFSA completion correlates strongly with college enrollment, particularly among low-income populations.

To learn more about today’s announcement and to review the list of the districts participating in the FAFSA Completion Project, click here.

Todd May
Federal Student Aid


  1. The government should push colleges and universities to cut costs more. The number of higher education of administrators has grown tremendously and at least some faculty need to teach more (and attend less meetings). Further, in a poor economy, students should not be encouraged to borrow money for majors which have little to no return.

    If the government is going to encourage more students to borrow more, the government should immediately make student loan debt like most other debt and that means student loan debt should be able to be discharged in bankruptcy.

    The federal government should also strive harder to make sure local districts are actually graduating students who are prepared to do college work so these kids don’t borrow money and later flunk out without much possibility of getting high enough paying jobs to pay back loans.

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