Yesterday, the National College Access Network (NCAN) announced the launch of the #FormYourFuture FAFSA Tracker. This new tool tracks how many high school seniors have completed the FAFSA in each state. Educators now have an easy way to quickly compare progress in their state with that in other states and data from previous years. The purpose of the tracker is to “inspire a little friendly competition in our collective quest to ensure that all students, especially those underrepresented in higher education, can afford to achieve their educational dreams.”
The Tracker shows that statewide FAFSA completion rates currently range from a low of 19.7% to a high of 60.4%. One reason for lower completion rates? Lack of awareness about student financial aid. This is no surprise to anyone familiar with the college-going process, which is so full of complex tasks that things like financial aid can easily slip through the cracks.
Research supports the claim that students who have received text messages nudges are more likely to complete college-related tasks, like the FAFSA. Text messages with FAFSA reminders have increased matriculation by 11% and first-year persistence by 20%. States and local education systems should consider embracing this medium as a way to boost their rankings on the FAFSA Tracker.
A big thanks to NCAN for sharing this tool and continuing to make the dream of college a reality for so many students!