FAFSA Completion Rates Low in Wake of COVID-19 Pandemic

Update: The News Release below was sent to the local media. It was picked up and aired on our local Green Bay television station, WFRV (  Fewer High School Seniors in Wisconsin are applying for federal student aid for college

4/8/2021 News Release: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light a downward shift in post-secondary enrollment. The 2021-2022 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) cycle has been open for applications since October 1st. Compared to the previous year, the FAFSA completion rate for Brown County is down 11.04% for high school seniors.

The national FAFSA completion rate for March 2021 was at 45.3%, with Wisconsin’s completion rate at 39.1%. Currently, Wisconsin ranks 36th out of 50 states in national FAFSA completion rankings.

Post-secondary enrollment has long been the gateway to allowing individuals to overcome poverty. According to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, a 30 percentage point equity gap exists in students of color enrolling in post-secondary education. Achieve Brown County’s FAFSA+ Team’s mission is to narrow the current equity gap so that all high school seniors in Brown County can pursue post-secondary options. The team is also focused on providing financial aid resources to non-FAFSA eligible students and their families. In response to the decline in FAFSA rankings, the team has convened with local school districts to gauge the complications of applying for college during a pandemic.

With classes shifting to an offsite model, students had to adjust to the unfamiliarity of learning in a pandemic. “As school districts in Brown County go back to in-person classes, the FAFSA completion rates remain a point of concern as the post-secondary environment continues to change.” said Spencer Bonnie, Executive Director.

For access to the virtual FAFSA resources list as well as other pertinent information, please follow to this link to learn more about the FAFSA+ Team’s mission: 

The following is a list of the partner organizations of the FAFSA+ Team:
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
UW-Green Bay
St Norbert College
Bellin College
Oneida-Higher Education
Boys and Girls Club of Greater Green Bay
Casa ALBA Melanie
Bank First

Published: April 8, 2021