How Have FAFSA Submissions Differed During COVID-19?
How Have FAFSA Submissions Differed During COVID-19?

Published Online in:
Educational Researcher
February 10, 2021

Oded Gurantz, University of Missouri, Columbia
Christopher WielgaUniversity of Missouri, Columbia

We examine changes in California’s FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) applications during the COVID-19 crisis. There was little change in applications for high school graduates due to an early deadline for state aid. After the deadline—from early March to mid-August—FAFSA applications of potential college freshmen declined 14%, relative to prior years. Although there were initial declines in applications among more experienced undergraduates and graduate students, these quickly rebounded and were 8% higher relative to prior years. FAFSA applications increased more in counties that had larger increases in unemployment insurance claims but declined more in zip codes that were lower income or were more heavily Black and Hispanic.

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Read the press release: "Study: After COVID-19 Hit, Federal Financial Aid Applications Dropped Sharply among Potential First-Year Students.

Study citation: Gurantz, O., & Wielga, C. (2021). How have FAFSA submissions differed during COVID-19? Educational Researcher. Prepublished February 10, 2021.