SANTEE, CA — Applications for federal college financial aid are notably lower this year, and that could mean fewer freshmen when classes begin this fall.
Prospective college students can fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to qualify for subsidized student loans and other forms of aid. FAFSA applications declined 5.8 percent nationally this year compared with the same time last year. About 1.72 million students completed the application as of June 25, compared with 1.83 million in 2020, according to an Associated Press analysis of FAFSA data.
As of February this year, FAFSA applications were down 10 percent from last year. But the completion rate increased in the spring, when schools could hold more in-school FAFSA help events that were canceled last year because of the pandemic.
A decline in the FAFSA completion rate could be a harbinger of lower enrollment in the fall. The class of 2020 had 3.7 percent fewer FAFSA applications than the class of 2019; postsecondary enrollment dropped 6.8 percent between the class of 2020 and 2019, according to the National College Attainment Network.
In California, 242,866 FAFSA applications were completed as of June 25, compared with 265,252 completions at the same point last year. That is an 8.4 percent decrease. (See how Santee area high schools compare below.)
The decline is steeper among Title 1 high schools, meaning those where low-income students make up at least 40 percent of enrollment. Title 1 high school completions dropped 8.83 percent, compared with a 3.86 decrease for non-Title 1 schools.
In California, completed applications dropped 12.5 percent from Title 1 schools, compared with a 4.6 percent drop for non-Title 1 school applications as of June 25.
Here is how schools in the Santee area are doing with FAFSA completion as of June 25. See more Santee area high schools here. Note: Percent changes can be affected by a relatively small difference in completions, especially for smaller schools. FAFSA data only counts students who are no older than 19.
School: West Hills High
District: Grossmont Union High
- Total FAFSA completions as of June 25, 2021: 196
- Total FAFSA completions as of June 25, 2020: 239
- Percent change: -17.99
- Title 1 status: Not Title I schoolwide
School: Santana High
District: Grossmont Union High
- Total FAFSA completions as of June 25, 2021: 183
- Total FAFSA completions as of June 25, 2020: 190
- Percent change: -3.68
- Title 1 status: Title I schoolwide
The FAFSA application for the 2020-21 academic year closes June 30 at 11:59 p.m. CT, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Many states and colleges set their own deadlines for aid applications. There has been a push in recent years to have students fill out the FAFSA earlier in their senior year.
Editor’s note: This list was automatically generated using FAFSA data analyzed by the Associated Press. Federal high school counts don’t include students over the age of 19. Information isn’t available for all schools. Schools with fewer than five completions are omitted from the data. Please report any errors or other feedback to [email protected].