An Article from the Atlantic on changes to the FAFSA highlights Curry Ph.D student Katharine Meyer's research on the topic.
This past October saw some significant changes to the FAFSA, designed to make it more accurate and easier complete and, as a result, allow more students more time to make an informed college decision. While the full effects of the new FAFSA won’t be clear until the aid cycle ends this summer, preliminary lessons can be gleaned from the rollout of the new application. While the big-picture takeaway is encouraging—the number of FAFSA completions is up nationally and is nearing a new high—the news is not quite as good for the low-income, first-generation, and minority students policymakers hoped the FAFSA changes would help the most.
Katharine Meyer, a Ph.D. student in education at the University of Virginia, has also been tracking FAFSA completion this year and, like Hillman, has observed significant growth over last year. Comparing filing rates for districts where 80 percent of students receive free or reduced-price lunches to those where just 20 percent do, Meyer’s data suggests, however, that students in wealthier districts took advantage of the changes to the FAFSA more than their counterparts in poorer ones.