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FAFSA Renewals Down, Especially for Lower-Income Students

May 27, 2020
 
 

The number of students filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid is still down from this time last year.

Completions of the application started to decline in mid-March, when parts of the country began to shut down in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the National College Attainment Network, which is tracking FAFSA applications.

Application renewals have improved since April but are still lagging behind counts from last year. Through May 15, there have been nearly 4 percent fewer FAFSA renewals than through the same time last year.

Students from low-income backgrounds are not filing or renewing in disproportionate amounts compared to higher-income students.

Applications from students who are eligible for federal Pell Grants whose families have incomes of $25,000 or less are also down by more than 7 percent compared to last year. While renewals increased for students from households making more than $25,000, applications from those making less were still down.

Over all, there were nearly 6 percent fewer renewals from all Pell-eligible students from March 15 to May 15 this year compared to last.

Renewals from students whose households earn $50,000 or more are up slightly -- by about 4,100 renewals -- compared to last year.

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