Update: FAFSA Completion Data-Sharing Among States

August 18, 2016

By Paula Acevedo, Graduate Policy Assistant 

It’s been more than two years since the Obama Administration expanded its FAFSA Completion Initiative, granting states the right to share student-specific FAFSA completion information with school districts, TRIO/GEAR UP and qualifying nonprofit college access programs. Given the policy’s significant potential to increase FAFSA completion, NCAN decided to examine which states have taken advantage.

We surveyed our members to identify in which states they were receiving FAFSA completion data, either through the state or through partnerships with school districts and college access programs. We found that 39 states are sharing FAFSA completion data with school districts, and 10 states are distributing the data to college access programs. In 16 states, college access programs are receiving the data through partnerships with their local school districts. For a full list of which states are sharing FAFSA completion data, click here.

Access to individuals’ completion data allows those working with students – whether at the district or CAP level – to know which ones have completed the FAFSA, according to the Office of Federal Student Aid. With this knowledge, advisors and counselors can use their limited resources to target students who have not yet completed the form, rather than trying to continually blanket the entire school with FAFSA information all year long.

Knowing that a FAFSA is completed – by any and all important deadlines – is key to helping students pay for college. Often students believe they have completed the form, but do not realize that a crucial piece, such as a parent signature, is still missing. The student-specific data can help programs stay on top of which students still need to complete a necessary step in the process. If your college access program is located in a state that is not sharing data, or is not sharing it with college access programs, NCAN encourages you to advocate for access to this important information. For more information, please contact our policy director, Carrie Warick.

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