FAFSA Submissions Down; Income-Driven Repayment Plan Enrollments Up

By Katy Hopkins, Communications Staff 

For at least the second year in a row, fewer Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSAs) were submitted for this school year than the year prior. 

That’s one of several key student aid findings released Tuesday by the Department of Education (ED) Office of Federal Student Aid in its latest series of quarterly reports

So far, there have been three percent fewer FAFSAs filed for the 2014-15 school year than at this time last year for 2013-14, according to ED. The same decrease occurred between 2012-13 and 2013-14. Records of submissions by applicants’ states and by schools listed on the forms are available in ED’s FSA Data Center.

Also available in the center are reports on loan and grant volumes, both of which decreased for 2013-14 “in alignment with recent decreases in application volume,” according to an accompanying Electronic Announcement on the reports’ release. However, “recipients and disbursements for the Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant Program have increased,” ED notes. We at NASFAA expect the increase in Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant volume to continue into the near future as more children of U.S. armed forces' members who died as a result of military service performed in Iraq or Afghanistan after the events of 9/11 reach the typical college-going age.

There has also been an increase in enrollees in income-driven repayment plans, according to ED. Ten percent of Direct Loan borrowers were repaying their loans in either Pay As You Earn, Income-Based Repayment, or Income-Contingent Repayment as of Sept. 30, 2014, up from 7 percent the year before.

The FSA Data Center was created in 2009 and aims to be the “centralized source for information relating to the federal financial assistance programs,” according to its website. In addition to student aid information, it houses data on Title IV program participants, reports on Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program lenders and guaranty agencies, and information on FSA’s contracts, strategic goals, and performance results. 

“Federal Student Aid proactively posts these reports in support of open government initiatives to help ensure consistency, increase transparency, and support self-service opportunities for customers,” Matthew Sessa, deputy chief operating officer of Federal Student Aid, wrote in Tuesday’s accompanying Electronic Announcement.


Publication Date: 12/12/2014

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