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NC FAFSA Tracker

4 out of 5 college students rely on financial aid to pay for college. Have your students completed the FAFSA?In order to ensure today’s students are prepared for tomorrow’s jobs, North Carolina has set an ambitious goal – 2 million North Carolinians ages 25-44 will hold a high-quality degree or credential by 2030. An important early step in earning a credential is completing a FAFSA, which unlocks access to financial aid at the federal, state, and college level.

That’s why communities across North Carolina are mobilizing to assist students in taking this important step. Community stakeholders can track FAFSA completion progress by school and district each week starting in Mid-October and deploy extra help where it’s needed most.

 

To Download Raw Data in Excel (Data is for the current week only):

  1. Visit: FAFSA Tracker Download - Smartsheet.com
  2. Navigate to “FAFSA Tracker Download (View Only)” at the top of the page and select the three vertical dots
    FAFSA Tracker Download options
  3. Select “Export” in the pop-window
    FAFSA Tracker Download - Export option
  4. Choose “Export to Microsoft Excel” from the drop-down menu
    FAFSA Tracker Download - Export to Excel option

 

How To Use The Tracker

View FAFSA submission and completion data for your school or district
Select your specific school from the dropdown field. To see all the schools in a specific school district, select the district from the “Select School District” dropdown field. The data table will change with the requested information.


School District dropdown

 

Rank sort: You can rank sort the list of schools by any column by hovering your mouse over the right side of the column header in the middle and clicking to sort.

2023 Completion Rate

Charter schools: To see the FAFSA information for your charter school, scroll down the school list and select your school, or select your school under the “School District” drop down.

Example:

School District Example - Ascend Leadership Academy: Lee County

Cooperative innovative high schools: To see the FAFSA information for your CIHS school, select CIHS tab to go to that dashboard and select your school from the drop down, or scroll down the list of schools.

CIHS tab

Private schools: To see the FAFSA information for your private school, select Private Schools tab to go to that dashboard and select your school from the drop down, or scroll down the list of schools.

Private Schools tab

To calculate your FAFSA completion rate: For CIHS and private schools, you can calculate your FAFSA completion rate by dividing your current number of completions by your entire senior class.

For example: Hendersonville High School

FAFSA completions 2023 = 93

2023 senior class total = 169

FAFSA completion rate: 93/169 = 55%

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Frequently Asked Questions

School-level FAFSA completion rates in the FAFSA Tracker are calculated using data from two public sources: Federal Student Aid (FSA), an office of the U.S. Department of Education, and the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI).

  • FAFSA completion rates are automatically calculated in the FAFSA Tracker for traditional and charter schools where senior count data is available from NCDPI Principal’s Month 2 report. CIHS and private schools can calculate their own FAFSA completion rates by dividing their current completions by their total senior class.

 

Graduating Total senior counts from grade 12 are from NCDPI’s Principal Monthly Report (PMR) Enrollment for Month 2 (for all public schools except CIHS). To ensure that the FAFSA Tracker is reporting consistent numbers from a single source, we are unable to make updates to this data point throughout the academic year; however, users can calculate the FAFSA completion rate by dividing completions by total senior count for their school.

Federal Student Aid (FSA) provides information on total FAFSA submissions and completions by school on a weekly basis from October to June and bi-weekly thereafter.

NCDPI: The Tracker uses Membership Last Day (MLD) from the Principal’s Monthly Report Month 2 for senior class counts starting in January, and holds the senior class size steady throughout the remainder of the year.

Submitted means that the application was sent in but may not have all required portions completed or may have errors. If a FAFSA form is submitted but not complete, the student will receive an email from the Department of Education asking them to correct their FAFSA.

Completed means that an application was submitted and fully completed and is now being considered for financial aid.

A completed FAFSA is necessary to determine eligibility for federal and state student aid and is often used for other forms of financial aid, such as school-based aid.

Authorized users of CFNC’s Finish the FAFSA can see student-level data to determine which students have submitted, completed, or not started the FAFSA.

Importance of Signatures
A common error for a FAFSA that was “submitted but not completed” is a missing signature for either the parent or the student. Signatures may be completed electronically using the FSA ID or by printing, signing, and mailing the signature page.

To get an FSA ID, individuals must have a Social Security Number (SSN). Individuals without an FSA ID can sign the printed signature page. For more information: https://studentaid.gov/help/how-sign-fafsa-parent

For students with undocumented parents who mailed in the signature page, their FAFSA will be considered Submitted but not Completed and in the Finish the FAFSA report it may indicate a missing parent signature until the mailed signature page is matched to the student’s FAFSA. This can take several weeks.

FAFSA completion data represent a subset of students the US Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid (FSA) office identified as “seniors” based on how these students answered questions in their FAFSA application. For example, students who answered they have attended college before may not be identified as high school seniors in the FSA data set and would therefore not be captured in the Tracker.

FSA makes certain assumptions to determine who is a high school senior:

  • First-time filer
  • No older than 19
  • Will receive a high school diploma
  • Will be considered a college freshman by the start of the school year to which they are applying for aid

 

That means the following students are not included in the high school data:

  • Students who report (incorrectly or otherwise) that they will receive anything other than a high school diploma.
  • Students who have filed a FAFSA in a previous cycle, regardless of whether they attended college.
  • Students who report that they will be anything but an incoming first-year undergraduate.
  • Students who are older than 19 years of age.

 

This is not a comprehensive list. You can find a complete list of data details and assumptions on the FAFSA completion website.

The following schools are not included in the FAFSA Tracker:

  • Public schools with no enrollment data available.
  • Schools with less than five students who have submitted the FAFSA are not listed in the Tracker due to privacy reasons. Once a school has more than five (5) FAFSA submissions, their data will be included in the Tracker.

 

Note: The data in the Tracker comes directly from the U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid (FSA) weekly, and this data set has some school naming differences that can cause issues with the schools loading correctly in the Tracker.

If your school has more than five FAFSA submissions or completions, but you do not see the school listed in the FAFSA Tracker, please email [email protected].

Data in the FAFSA Tracker and Finish the FAFSA report should be similar, but they may not be identical. There are several reasons why the Tracker may not match the report in Finish the FAFSA.

Data update on different schedules. Finish the FAFSA updates every business day, while the federal data used in the Tracker updates weekly October through June. The data that populates from the U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid, reflects FAFSA submissions and completions about one week prior to the release date, and this date is listed in the Tracker. Additionally, the Tracker typically updates on Mondays about 2 business days after the federal data release, on Fridays.

Data include different methods to identify high school seniors in the counts.

  • Finish the FAFSA identifies all grade 12 and 13 students as potential seniors using a name match, which may lead to larger senior class sizes reported than those identified as seniors by FSA based on student answers in their FAFSA application.
  • Finish the FAFSA is intended to help counselors assist specific seniors at their schools, rather than serve as a basis for comparison among schools. Therefore, the list of seniors in Finish the FAFSA is updated for the second semester to show any seniors at that school who were not there in the fall semester or to remove any who graduated. The senior count data used in the Tracker is from Month 2 enrollment rates, provided by NCDPI, and is not updated during the academic year.

 

Data have different privacy limitations. Even if a school has fewer than five (5) FAFSA filers, the authorized school-based users of Finish the FAFSA will see the FAFSA completion status for those students listed in the report. This is because data in the Finish the FAFSA is private and only available to authorized recipients. Data in the Tracker is public so is limited due to privacy.

Data for CIHS in the FAFSA Tracker is included in the “CIHS” tab. FAFSA completions are reported by FSA whether the students are enrolled in the 12th or 13th grade.

To calculate your school’s estimated FAFSA completion rate, divide the number of completions by the total graduating seniors for your school.

Note: Auto-calculations for FAFSA completion rate for CIHS in the Tracker are not listed because the total number of graduating seniors in these schools is not systematically categorized across all CIHS schools, which leads to FAFSA completion rates that may not be accurate.

Data on private schools FAFSA submissions and completions is included in the “Private Schools” tab.

Data is presented for the current school year and last year for schools with at least five FAFSA completions.

Note: FAFSA completion rates for private schools cannot be calculated because we are unable to access senior enrollment data for private schools from a single source. Please divide the number of FAFSA completions by the number of graduating seniors for your school to estimate the FAFSA completion rate.

 

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Send your questions to [email protected] and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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