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Iowa’s FAFSA completion rate stabilizes after four years of decline; equity gaps remain


After four years of declines in Iowa’s completion rate of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the rate stabilized this year. 2022’s completion rate was equal to last year’s, with 49% of Iowa high school seniors in the class of 2022 applying for FAFSA, according to a news release from Iowa College Aid. That level, however, is a decline of 4 percentage points from the pre-pandemic 2018-19 FAFSA filing cycle.

“Even though we have yet to return to our pre-pandemic FAFSA completion rate, we are encouraged that this year’s FAFSA completion rate has remained steady and hope this is an opportunity to drive those rates upward,” said Mark Wiederspan, executive director of Iowa College Aid.

Despite the rate remaining neutral compared with last year, the release said significant equity gaps remain among gender, race, and income levels. FAFSA completion rates among Asian, Hispanic and Black students all saw modest gains in the 2022-23 cycle, but the rates for Hispanic and Black students remain the lowest of any race or ethnicity. Their completion rates were approximately 20 percentage points lower than those of white students.

The completion rates for male students also trailed those of female students by 15 percentage points. More findings of the report, titled “FAFSA Filing in Iowa: 2022,” are available to view at this link.

In partnership with the Iowa College Access Network, Iowa College Aid hired 11 FAFSA associates this summer to help students file their applications and follow through on plans to seek postsecondary education.

Iowa College Aid is also hosting a FAFSA Learning Day on Oct. 11 as part of FAFSA Awareness Week held Oct. 10-14.

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