FAFSA Roundtable - 3/16/21

Chancellor Randy Gardner and State Superintendent Paolo DeMaria lead a discussion of the state's FAFSA 21 (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) initiative and the importance of FAFSA completion.

A new statewide initiative aims to improve the number of students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. 

The FAFSA allows students to qualify for federal Pell grants, state grants, and most scholarships; historically, it has been one of the best predictors of enrollment in colleges, universities, and training centers. High school seniors who complete the FAFSA are 84% more likely to enroll in college.  

FAFSA completion rates have declined dramatically – both in Ohio and across the country – in the time of COVID-19. Recent data suggest that FAFSA completion rates in Ohio have declined 8.9% compared to the same period last year. This change represents funding for postsecondary education that goes unclaimed and may also contribute to a decline in postsecondary enrollment in Ohio.  

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) have announced FAFSA 21, an initiative launched to ensure that Ohio’s students have the support they need to complete the FAFSA. ODE and ODHE will invest $2.85 million in federal Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) funding for FAFSA completion projects over the next year and a half. These funds will be used to support direct intervention, data system upgrades, and professional development.