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 and deploy extra help where it’s needed most.

Note: Please keep in mind that when comparing 2024 data to 2023 data, there are three fewer months for FAFSA completion in 2024 due to the Better FAFSA’s delayed opening. Still, we want to catch up so students interested in college know money is available to help make paying for college more manageable.

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

  1. Visit: FAFSA Tracker Download -
  2. Navigate to “FAFSA Tracker Download (View Only)” at the top of the page and select the three vertical dots
  3. Select “Export” in the pop-window

  4. Choose “Export to Microsoft Excel” from the drop-down menu

How To Use The Tracker

This dashboard is meant to be interactive. Click any category to filter the dashboard to that subset of data. Click again or press ESC to clear.

Categories are colored based on a comparison to prior year. If that comparison is greater than last year, those marks are colored green. If below, they are colored orange. Darker orange indicates areas that are further behind and may need more assistance.

Traditional triangles represent an upward trend when comparing to prior year data. Downward facing triangles represent a downward trend.

Note: Private school data is only available on the Private School tab. Functionality is limited as some of the data is unavailable for private schools.

View FAFSA submission and completion data for your district or school To View Districts

There are a few ways to view a district:

  1. View the districts table on the right pane to find and click a district, which is sorted in order of highest FAFSA completion rate to lowest.
  2. Click a county on the map and view the districts table on the right pane to find and click a district.
  3. Click on the District tab at the top of the Tracker, which will lead to the district dashboard. You may search for a district or select it from the dropdown field.

Once on the district site, you may see a list of all schools in the district on the left pane.

To View Public Schools (Traditional, CIHS, and Charter)

  1. Click on the School tab from the top of the Tracker, which will lead to the school dashboard. You may search for a school or select it from the dropdown field.
  2. Follow any of the steps to view districts, then click on the schools within that district.

Filters: You may filter the data by clicking any of the subcategories below. To reset the filters, click the subcategory again or press ESC.

Geo density: This category describes the area where the school is located and is derived from the National Center for Education Statistic’s four territory types: City, Suburb, Town, and Rural. Selecting one of the four subcategories will show FAFSA information for all counties (map) and districts (table) that feature that classification, regardless of school type.

School Type: Use this category to filter FAFSA information for traditional public schools, charter, and cooperative innovative high schools. All counties that feature that school type will show on the map. All districts that feature that school type will populate in the districts table.
Note: Private School data is only available on the Private School tab. Functionality is limited as some of the data is unavailable for private schools.

Class Size: There are four categories by which to filter: Extra small (0-79) Small (80-165), Medium (166-267), Large (268+). All counties that feature schools with that senior class size will show on the map. All districts that feature schools with that senior class size will populate in the districts table.
All public schools, regardless of school type, will populate based on the senior class size selected.

To calculate your FAFSA completion rate: For CIHS who use counts for 12th and 13th grades 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 2024 = 93
2024 senior class total = 169
FAFSA completion rate: 93/169 = 55%

District Data

District data includes the senior count, the percentage of students who are economically disadvantaged, the percentage of students of color, the geographic density of the district, and the number of schools in the district. The percentage of economically disadvantaged students and the percentage of students of color were both obtained from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI). The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction defines Economically Disadvantaged Status (EDS) as any student identified by a Public School Unit (PSU) who meets state or federal guidance for financial assistance in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), regardless of participation. Students of color are defined as students who identify as American Indian, Black, Asian, Hispanic, or Multiracial. Currently about 93% of public schools have reported race, so the percentage of students of color may not be listed for each district.

For private schools the percentage of students of color and the percentage of students who are economically disadvantaged are not provided.

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 (who use the count for 12th and 13th grades) 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 grade12 are from NCDPI’s Principal Monthly Report (PMR) Enrollment for Month 2 for all public schools. 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 or they can go to their FAFSA Submission Summary on their account to check on errors.

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. 

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.
  • Students who have earned a GED.


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

Public schools with no enrollment data available are not listed in the FAFSA Tracker. If your school is a public school registered with DPI, but you do not see the school listed in the FAFSA Tracker, please email [email protected].

Schools with less than five (5) students who have submitted the FAFSA are listed in the Tracker as having 0 submissions. Once a school has more than 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 5 FAFSA submissions or completions, but it’s showing as 0, please email [email protected].

Data in the FAFSA Tracker andFinish the FAFSAreport 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 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.
  • Families can opt out of sharing their student’s information in Finish the FAFSA (FERPA). So, some students may not appear in Finish the FAFSA, but their completion information is included in the Tracker.

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

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. FAFSA completions are reported by FSA whether the students are enrolled in the 12th or 13th grade.

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 calculate your FAFSA completion rate using the formula provided above.

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