Why Students Do Not Complete the FAFSA
Steve Baher and Kathleen Hoyer, Activate Research


Thursday, April 25

This session provided an updated and detailed look at why students or their parents report not completing the FAFSA. Using data from the NCES High School Longitudinal Study of 2009, an Update survey was conducted with the same respondents in the summer and fall of 2013, when most students had graduated from high school. The 2013 Update questionnaire could be completed by either students or their parents.  The survey sought to answer three main questions:

  1. Of fall 2009 ninth-graders who graduated from high school, what percentage of students or their parents reported completing a FAFSA?
  2. What were the reasons that students or their parents reported for not completing a FAFSA overall and by postsecondary enrollment? and
  3. Did the reasons that students or their parents reported that they did not fill out the FAFSA vary by student, family, or school characteristics?

This session presented survey findings, and attendees discussd the implications for how college access programs can help more students and their families to complete the FAFSA.