Hawaiʻi is currently ranked top in the nation for highest percent change in Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completions compared to the previous year, according to the #FormYourFuture FAFSA Tracker, a national dashboard created by the National College Attainment Network.
Through November 20, 2020, 30.5% of the high school class of 2021 in Hawaiʻi has completed the FAFSA. There have been 4,352 completions in Hawaiʻi, a 0.4% change compared to the last academic year.
“We are encouraged by these FAFSA completion numbers,” said Stephen Schatz, executive director of Hawaiʻi P-20 Partnerships for Education. “Each year, millions of free federal grant dollars are left unclaimed in Hawaiʻi. This aid could have helped more of our Hawaiʻi students attend college, including the University of Hawaiʻi. We need to do everything we can to help make college more affordable during these challenging economic times.”
The #FormYourFuture FAFSA Tracker is an interactive data dashboard that tracks and ranks states’ progress toward 100% of their high school seniors completing the FAFSA and measures change annually. The tracker shows weekly progress and allows for year-to-year comparisons at the national, state, city, school district and school levels.
Data shows that FAFSA completion is strongly associated with postsecondary enrollment. According to recent studies, 90% of high school seniors who complete the FAFSA attend college directly from high school, compared to just 55% of students who do not complete the FAFSA. Also, FAFSA completion is strongly associated with college completion: 52% of FAFSA filers complete a bachelor’s degree within six years of enrollment, compared to just 44% of students who do not complete it.
In Hawaiʻi, more than $70 million in scholarships and grants are awarded to help students go to college each year including the UH Hawaiʻi Promise Scholarship. The Hawaiʻi Promise Scholarship provides support for all students with unmet direct financial need to attend UH Community Colleges at no cost for tuition, fees, books, supplies and transportation. Approximately 1,400 community college students statewide annually receive this scholarship. To qualify for this scholarship and many others, students are required to complete FAFSA, regardless of family income.
This fall, Hawaiʻi P-20 and UH have been providing virtual support to students and parents to complete FAFSA while many students are still learning from home.
Virtual financial aid workshops have been offered since September to walk students and families through the FAFSA application process. Visit the website to view a recording of this webinar.
A FAFSA email hotline is also available where families can reach out to receive assistance from a local financial aid specialist.