Mapping Your Future: Why students do not complete the FAFSA and how to fix the issues


Why students do not complete the FAFSA and how to fix the issues

By Catherine Mueller

January 03, 2019

The reasons why students do not complete a FAFSA provides some important insight into how the higher education and financial aid industry can boost college access and success.

In a report issued last month, the NCES outlined some of the major findings from a longitudinal study. Students who participated in the study cited some of the following reasons for not completing a FAFSA:

  • 33 percent thought they could afford college without financial aid
  • 32 percent thought they would not be eligible for financial aid
  • 28 percent did not want to take on additional debt
  • 23 percent did have enough information about how to complete a FAFSA
  • 22 percent did not plan to continue education after high school
  • 15 percent did not know they could complete a FAFSA
  • 9 percent thought the forms were too much work or too time-consuming

The solution for all of these issues are in better communication, education, and guidance for students and their families.

While these issues regarding the FAFSA are not new for many of us who work in financial aid or higher education, it is important to recognize that work to help students succeed is not complete.