The Guide


We’ve collected personal stories, successful tactics, and strategies that illustrate what schools and communities are doing to encourage FAFSA completion. Have your own story to share? Drop us a line, and we’ll consider posting it here.


Karina: From Rehab to College

Karina didn’t have perfect grades, but completing her FAFSA with the help of school counselor made her sure she wanted to attend college.

Dec 9, 2021 |
NCAN’s FAFSA Tracker Returns for 5th Year Hoping for a Trendline Turnaround

By Bill DeBaun, Director of Data and Evaluation, National College Attainment Network Oct. 1 is a major milestone on every college access professional’s calendar because it’s opening day for the new FAFSA cycle. The good news is NCAN’s FAFSA Tracker is back for the fifth consecutive year to help practitioners, policymakers, and the public track […]

Oct 18, 2021 |
6 Ways to Make FAFSA Completion a Community-Wide Effort

This piece originally appeared on the Principal Project blog. It is reposted here with permission. By Ralph Aiello For many students, the ability to enroll in and complete college hinges on financial barriers that can feel outside of a family’s control. The truth is, students who need aid to attend college are often eligible for […]

Sep 14, 2021 |
MCAN’s Strategies to Engage Students and Facilitate FAFSA Completion During the Summer – or Any Time

By Sara Melnick, Deputy Director, National College Attainment Network As of the writing of this blog post, FAFSA completions among high school seniors are down 4.3% from last year. But some states have found ways to buck this downward trend and engage students during the summer months. NCAN recently hosted a webinar highlighting some of […]

Sep 2, 2021 |
3 More States Add FAFSA Completion as a Requirement for High School Graduation

By Raymond AlQaisi, Policy and Advocacy Manager, National College Attainment Network In an apparent resurgence to the growing “mandatory FAFSA” movement, three new states – Alabama, California, and Colorado – have adopted policies that will make completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) a high school graduation requirement. In 2020, more than […]

Aug 3, 2021 |
FAFSA Completion Declines Nearly 5%; Nation Loses 270K FAFSAs Since 2019

By Bill DeBaun, Director of Data and Evaluation, National College Attainment Network Key Takeaways: Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to access federal grants and loans, as well as many types of state and institutional financial aid. By July 2, the high school class of 2021 completed 4.8% fewer FAFSAs than […]

Jul 22, 2021 |