PROOF POINTS: A warning sign that the freshman class will shrink again in the fall of 2021 – The Hechinger Report
Financial aid applications are down more than 9 percent compared to a year ago
High school seniors are filling out more financial aid forms than they were in the midst of the pandemic autumn of 2020, when there were record high drops in completions. But as of Feb. 12, 2021, filings of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as FAFSA, were still down a whopping 9.4 percent from a year ago, which does not bode well for college going in the fall of 2021.
FAFSA filings remain especially depressed at high schools with higher concentrations of students of color, in rural areas and small towns and in low-income schools everywhere.
“We’re clawing back some ground from where we were in November, but 9 percent is still a massive number,” said Bill DeBaun, director of data and evaluation at the nonprofit National College Attainment Network, who tracks FAFSA completion rates every week. “We’ve made progress on getting more students of color and financially disadvantaged students to college. But given the trends we’ve seen, we risk backpedaling on that progress if we fail to help those kids find a post-secondary pathway now.”