There’s been a more than eight percent increase in the number of Iowa high school seniors who’ve completed the forms to determine if they qualify for federal financial aid. Elizabeth Keest Sedrel of the Iowa College Aid Commission is monitoring the data about the “Free Application for Federal Student Aid” — commonly called the FAFSA.
“What we’re seeing both in Iowa and around the country is a definite uptick in the number of high school seniors who are filling out the FAFSA,” she says. “And this is really, really good news because, for one thing, we know that students who file that FAFSA are more likely to go to college and we are working really hard on pushing college attainment rates up in Iowa.”
Nearly 22,000 Iowa high school seniors had completed the forms by June 30.
“Something like half of Iowans who file this FAFSA qualify for the Pell Grant alone — just that one federal grant, so the rate of return on this is really, really good,” Sedrel says. “This means that Iowans are taking advantage of this opportunity to fund their higher education.”
Sedrel credits the combination of an earlier start date for filling out the forms and a public awareness campaign targeting students who would be the first in their family to attend college. State officials also created a webpage a few years ago that now list the completion rates for seniors in 83 Iowa high schools.