One and Done Modeling a One-Time FAFSA

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Center for American Progress

While the FAFSA allows all students to access loans, it is particularly vital for low income students to complete the form, as it provides them with access to the federal Pell Grant. This aid, which totals $6,095 in the 2018-19 school year, can mean the difference between enrolling and forgoing a college education. Research shows that hundreds of thousands of low-income students are tripped up by the form each year, failing to complete the application and verify their information as the first day of class approaches. For many, this means their chances of enrolling in college, let alone completing, are slim. To determine if a one-time FAFSA could be implemented and who it would most help, the Center for American Progress worked with 27 colleges around the United States to gather data for nearly a quarter of a million students who filled out the FAFSA at least two times. The analyses of these data focus on how much students’ expected family contribution (EFC) figure varies from the first year they filed and seek to understand the causes of larger variations in EFC.

low-income students, educational attainment, Pell grants, student financial aid