FAFSA Statistics | The bank rate
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form students must complete each year to receive federal or state financial aid. Application for the 2022-23 academic year opened on October 1, 2021 and will close on June 30, 2023.
While some families choose not to file the FAFSA, many would be surprised at the amount of financial assistance available. Here’s a breakdown of the type of help available and how much you could receive.
- For 2018-19, the National Center for Education Statistics found that the average grant and scholarship aid for full-time students at four-year institutions was $13,690.
- According to Sallie Mae, only 68% of families submitted the FAFSA for 2020-21.
- The same Sallie Mae report found that 29% of families who received an offer of financial assistance appealed for more help, and 71% of those appeals were granted.
- Federal student aid data shows that about 20 million FAFSAs are submitted each year, but that number is steadily declining.
What percentage of students receive financial aid?
Each federal financial aid program is unique; it is based on factors such as the student’s enrollment status, the student’s expected family contribution, and the school’s tuition. For example, private colleges may offer more financial aid than public schools, but that’s because private schools generally have a much higher cost of attendance.
Financial Aid Awards by Institution
|Enrolled undergraduate students receiving financial aid (public institutions)||Enrolled undergraduate students receiving financial aid (private non-profit institutions)|
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
Full-Time Undergraduate Students Receiving Financial Aid by Race/Ethnicity
|Native American/Alaska Native|
|Two or more races|
Source: National Center for Education Statistics
FAFSA Filing Statistics
All US citizens and eligible non-citizens can complete the FAFSA. And the help isn’t limited to high school seniors and undergraduates; students from all backgrounds and pursuing many types of degrees are eligible for support.
According to data from Federal Student Aid, of those who filed a FAFSA for the 2019-2020 academic year:
- 62% are female students and 38% are male students.
- 47% are first generation students.
- 11% are 18 or younger and 41% are 25 or older.
- 13% are pursuing higher or professional studies.
- 24% have never attended college before.
- 48% are considered dependent students, while 52% are independent students.
FAFSA submitted year after year
The number of FAFSAs submitted since 2010 has steadily declined. FAFSA submissions for the 2019-20 school year were the lowest since 2008-09, and recent data from the National College Attainment Network predicts an even bigger drop through 2022.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the rising cost of higher education could both contribute to declining FAFSA applications, with many students dropping out of college or opting to pursue other options.
Here is a breakdown of FAFSAs submitted by year:
|Year||Number of FAFSAs submitted|
Source: Federal Student Aid
State financial aid
States offer their own grant and scholarship opportunities for residents. Many of these are available through the FAFSA, although others require a separate application. Check your state’s grant agency for more information on available opportunities.
|State||Average state aid available per undergraduate student in 2017-18|
Source: National Center for Scientific and Technical Statistics. These figures do not take into account state assistance through subsidized tuition.
Types of Federal Financial Assistance
Most federal financial aid is need-based, determined by a student’s expected family contribution, but some aid is available to all students. In general, grants and work-study programs are need-based, while loans are not. Here are some of the types of financial assistance you can receive through the FAFSA:
- Subsidies : Grants are a type of free money usually given out to students who demonstrate financial need. There are four main federal grants available through the FAFSA: the Pell Grant, the Supplemental Federal Educational Opportunities Grant, the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant, and the TEACH Grant.
- Loans: Federal student loans can cover most education expenses and are usually repaid over 10 years. There are three main types: direct subsidized loans, direct subsidized loans and direct PLUS loans. Subsidized loans are the only type limited to students with financial need.
- Work study: The federal work-study program allows students to work part-time while attending school. Students who meet the requirements usually take jobs on campus and use the money they earn for school-related expenses.
The bottom line
The amount of federal financial aid each student receives is unique based on their financial history, but the U.S. Department of Education says most U.S. citizens and eligible noncitizens are eligible for a certain amount of aid. aid. The truth is, it’s impossible to know what and how much you’ll qualify for without submitting the FAFSA. Completing the form takes most students less than an hour, and the time investment could very well be worth it. To apply, go to the Federal Student Aid website and log in with your FSA ID or create a new form.