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FAFSA Tracker

For college enrollment leaders, all hopes for some post-pandemic return to normalcy have been dashed by the Department of Education’s delayed and problematic rollout of the FAFSA this year.   The anxiety created for students is matched by that of admissions, aid and enrollment managers attempting to project and achieve their various enrollment goals amidst unprecedented uncertainty. 

So it’s natural that everyone is tracking FAFSA filings.  But broad summaries of the lagging volume of FAFSAs filed this year compared to last year don’t do justice to the variations by state, by student demographic and socio-economic background, even by the high schools that constitute a college’s dominant feeders.         

HCRC now offers this interactive tool to assist colleges in tracking the decline in FAFSAs filed compared to last year-to-date.    More detailed information is also available for those colleges and universities seeking further insight on FAFSA trends in their markets – just email us at

Meeting the Challenge:

This spring HCRC stepped up in earnest to support client schools in navigating through this extreme disruption.  We built tools to assist using the new Student Aid Index, provided early estimates of family contribution in the absence of FAFSA data, explored and modeled aid re-allocation strategies in the context of lagging FAFSAs and the likely effects on student choice,  and integrated all of this with Slate-based solutions for our partners.   

Understanding the Impact:


Little is yet known about how all of this will affect student choice behavior, but one thing is certain:  this year more than ever,  colleges need to anticipate the need to evaluate the outcomes of this enrollment cycle for new students.  And the transactional data on its effects will only begin to tell the full story.  To that end,  HCRC has refined its Admitted Student Review (ASR) to provide valuable insight on how the FAFSA delays affected students’ college choice.  The ASR is a robust and market-tested survey of an institution’s admitted freshmen, each year producing insight from over 100,000 respondents.  Click here to learn more – and to participate in this year’s survey with your class. 

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