Frequently Asked Questions
What is the source of data?
The source of the data is the Department of Education's Central Processing System.
Is this the first time FAFSA submission and completion data has been available?
The effort by Federal Student Aid to make available to the public FAFSA submission and completion data aggregated by high school was launched in 2012. In 2013 Federal Student Aid also began releasing data for the previous cycle, reported side-by-side with school totals for the current cycle.
Only numbers of submitted and completed FAFSAs are available. No personally identifiable information for any FAFSA filer will be shared through this process. If you see data that is inaccurate and/or you have suggestions for improvement, please contact us at the mailbox below. We welcome your input.
What is the difference between a submitted and a completed FAFSA?
Submitted applications reflect all FAFSAs submitted by students at that high school. These applications, however, can be subsequently rejected by the Central Processing System if they are missing key pieces of information. The applications that are not rejected are referred to as completed applications. Completed applications, therefore, are a subset of all submitted applications. If a FAFSA is submitted but not complete, the student will receive an e-mail from the Department of Education asking him or her to correct the FAFSA. A completed FAFSA is necessary to determine eligibility for federal and often other forms of financial aid.
Why isn't my high school listed?
There are two primary reasons that you may not see your school on the list.
- Your school will not appear on the report if there are fewer than 5 completed applications.
- Your school may appear on the report, but it may be listed under an alternative name. Since school names are inherently student-reported, the reported name can vary considerably. In aggregating the data, our standard practice is to report the school name that is most commonly reported by applicants. It is possible this name is different than your formal school name. As a result, it is important to look for other variations of your school name and city.
You do not need to request to be added to the list. Once a high school shows at least five completed FAFSAs, their submission and completion totals will appear in the database.
Why do there appear to be duplicates of the same school?
Since school names are inherently student-reported, the reported name can vary considerably. In aggregating the data, our standard practice is to report the school name that is most commonly reported by applicants.
However, when we are unable to determine if school name variations are referring to the same school, we err on the side of caution and do not aggregate the data to a single record and applicant count. In that instance, it may appear that there are duplicates of the same school. If you believe your school has been listed more than once, please report it to us at HSFAFSA@ed.gov.
Why is my number of FAFSA submissions or completions lower than I think it should be?
While we know that many high schools inadvertently overestimate their FAFSA completion rates, one reason your rates may be lower than expected is because your school could be listed more than once. This happens if students entered your school name in different ways on the FAFSA. For instance, if some students listed "John Doe High School" and other students listed "Doe High School" then your high school could be listed in more than one place. Please look for alternate names for your school. If you find your school has been listed more than once, please report them to us at HSFAFSA@ed.gov.
How often will the FAFSA submission data be updated?
From January through June, data releases are biweekly starting on the last Monday of January. For the remainder of the calendar year, data releases are monthly occurring on the last Monday of the month starting on the last Monday of July.
Who can I contact with questions about my high school and/or the FAFSA totals listed?
Please contact us at HSFAFSA@ed.gov and we'll make every effort to respond to your e-mail within 2 business days.
Return to the FAFSA Completion by High School web page.