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Louisiana’s New Rule Results in FAFSA Increase

Okay, first the bad news…

Just in time for the 2019-20 application period for FAFSA (free application for federal student aid), the National College Access Network (NCAN) has released some compelling data: for the third year in a row, students living in more impoverished school districts have lower FAFSA completion rates than students in wealthier districts.

On average, for every 10-percentage-point increase in the proportion of children living in poverty, a school district’s FAFSA completion rate for the 2018 high school senior class was 2.3 percentage points lower, according to the report.

While on average poor communities were outperformed by more affluent areas, the good news is, the overall FAFSA completion rate in the U.S. increased 0.3 percentage points from June 2017 to June 2018.

Bucking the trending decrease for students living in poverty, the state of Louisiana’s completion rate jumped a whopping 25.9% since last year, which can be attributed to the state’s new rule that high school seniors must complete the application in order to graduate.

NCAN Director of Policy and Advocacy Carrie Warick remarked, “While the overall national increase in FAFSA completion for high school students was small, the example of Louisiana demonstrates that thoughtful policy changes can have a large impact on students.”

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