FAFSA Completion Data Details
The tables reflects the number of submitted and completed Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSAs) by high school.
- Note that school names as entered by the applicant on the FAFSA were aggregated using an automated process and, therefore, may not represent an exact count. Adjustments may be made to account for new variations in school names. Reported applications for a school reflect the aggregate number of applications submitted and completed across all known variations of the school's name.
- School names will not be displayed if they have never had at least 5 application completions for any reported time period. If a school name is listed, but has fewer than 5 application completions for a given time period, the value of “<5” will be used as a placeholder for the number of application submissions and completions. Applications from these schools are, however, included in the district calculations.
- While we report a specific number of submissions and completions, these numbers rely on certain assumptions to determine who is a high school senior (first-time filing applicants no older than 19 who will have received their high school diploma and who will be considered college freshmen by the start of the school year to which they are applying for aid) and thus may not represent an exact count.
- Submitted applications reflect all FAFSAs submitted by students at that high school who meet the criteria described above. 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.
- The number of graduating seniors by public school district is estimated by multiplying the most recent available regulatory four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate by the maximum annual cohort enrollment corresponding to the graduating senior class, as reported by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). When NCES reports a range for the regulatory four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate, the midpoint of this range is used. School districts with fewer than 10 projected graduates and/or fewer than 5 completed applications are suppressed. In certain cases, noise is added to further protect privacy. All maps use district boundaries from the 2015 and 2016 TIGER/Line Shapefiles found at https://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/data/tiger-line.html.
These details and assumptions have many important implications of which you should be mindful, especially since they impact certain areas or schools more than others. Just a few of them include:
- If an institution primarily grants GEDs, then that school will likely be excluded from analysis because this data focuses solely on applicants that report receiving a high school diploma. Similarly, if a student reports (incorrectly or otherwise) receiving anything other than a high school diploma, then they will not fit our definition of a high school senior and will not be included in any school’s total.
- If an institution primarily caters to students age 20 or older (for example, some alternative schools), then that school will likely be excluded from analysis regardless of whether they report receiving a high school diploma. In fact, any applicant age 20 or older at the cutoff date will not fit our definition of a high school senior and will not be included in any school’s total.
- If a high school senior reports that they will be anything but an incoming first-year undergraduate, then they will be excluded from any school’s total because we will presume they are entering their second (or higher) year of college. Similarly, if a student has filed a FAFSA in a previous cycle (regardless of whether they actually attended college), then they too will be excluded from any school’s total.
- Summing the number of applications using the same exact city name does not necessarily provide a “city total.” The official location of a school (or the location most commonly reported by students) may actually be a suburb falling within a larger city’s limits. For example, adding up all the applications reported under “New York City” would exclude any institutions reported being within “Queens” or even within “Jamaica,” a smaller neighborhood within the New York City Borough of Queens.
- Summing the number of applications within a state file does not necessarily provide a “state total.” If an institution is reported as having “<5” completed applications, one cannot assume there were zero applications. Further, the totals for some schools are never made public because their class sizes essentially preclude them from having enough completed applications to ever be disclosed publicly.
Return to the FAFSA Completion by High School web page.