A state-by-state look at FAFSA filings and 2 huge trend boosts this year

The Class of 2022 shows resilience from the past two pandemic years with a 4.6% improvement year over year.
By: | July 20, 2022
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When the National College Attainment Network recently released its report on FAFSA completions for the coming academic year, the news was a welcome relief for colleges and universities. A 4.6% increase in applications for federal student aid showed that the slow recovery from COVID-19 was occurring in higher education, even if still not reaching pre-pandemic levels.

But in those numbers were two markers that stood out. The first was that those applying from low-income and high-minority public schools each leaped more than 9%. Those have been two of the hardest-hit enrollment segments throughout the pandemic, according to data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

The second was that the implementation of mandatory FAFSA application completions in states such as Texas is not only working but soaring well above yearly benchmarks. In fact, Texas’ numbers jumped an astounding 26%, while Alabama’s saw a nearly 25% increase. They are both in the Top 10 nationally, along with Illinois, another adopter of FAFSA mandates for students. Those increases helped spark the turnaround from the past two cycles that saw 250,000 fewer applications. The increase from Texas alone was more than 49,000 students year over year.

“This good news about the class of 2022 stands in stark contrast to the most recent data available about overall and renewal FAFSA applications,” said Bill DeBaun, senior director of Data and Strategic Initiatives at NCAN. “Whether the high school class of 2022 can begin to reverse the dismal trends observed over the past two years remains to be seen. Given the tight association between FAFSA completion and enrollment, it’s reasonable to expect the class of 2022’s postsecondary outcomes to rebound relative to its peers.”

All told, about 52% of the most recent high school graduating class has completed applications, or 2.1 million total, which is still 1.7% behind 2019 levels but trending up. College and university teams that want up-to-the-week data can check it out at NCAN’s Form Your Future tracker.


More from UB: Completion challenge: Can colleges help students prone to stopping out?


NCAN says that only 11 states showed declines year over year. Among the biggest movers were New Mexico and California, which rose 7.6% and 6.6%, respectively. State by state, this is where FAFSAs stand for the Class of 2022 (with increases or decreases year over year):

  1. Louisiana: 66.5% (+2.1%)
  2. Tennessee: 65.1% (+1.1%)*
  3. Illinois: 62.7% (+1.4%)
  4. Texas: 62.6% (+25.9%)
  5. Delaware: 60.8% (+3.2%)*
  6. Mississippi: 59.3% (+6.3%)
  7. New York: 59.0% (+0.1%)
  8. Alabama: 58.9% (+24.9%)
  9. Connecticut: 57.6% (-0.1%)
  10. New Jersey: 57.4% (+0.6%)
  11. Rhode Island: 56.9% (-0.8%)
  12. Massachusetts: 54.2% (-1.0%)
  13. West Virginia: 53.9% (+2.7%)
  14. California: 53.0% (+6.5%)
  15. Georgia: 52.9% (-1.0%)
  16. South Carolina: 52.7% (+2.5%)
  17. Ohio: 52.5% (+1.5%)
  18. Hawaii: 52.1% (-2.5%)
  19. Iowa: 52.1% (+0.5%)
  20. Kentucky: 52.1% (+3.4%)
  21. Virginia: 51.8% (+3.7%)
  22. North Carolina: 51.8% (-3.4%)
  23. Pennsylvania: 50.4% (+0.5%)
  24. New Hampshire: 49.3% (-1.2%)
  25. South Dakota: 49.2% (+0.5%)
  26. Arkansas: 49.2% (0.4%)
  27. Nebraska: 49.1% (Flat)
  28. Maryland: 49.0% (+2.2%)*
  29. Indiana:46.3% (-2.9%)
  30. Kansas: 46.0% (+0.7%)
  31. Maine: 47.4% (-0.3%)
  32. Michigan: 47.3% (-1.0%)
  33. Missouri: 47.2% (+0.2%)
  34. North Dakota: 46.8% (+0.6%)
  35. Vermont: 46.3% (-1.9%)*
  36. Wyoming: 46.0% (+0.4%)
  37. Wisconsin: 45.8% (+0.9%)
  38. Montana: 44.3% (4.8%)
  39. Minnesota: 44.0% (+2.2%)
  40. Oregon: 44.2% (+4.9%)
  41. New Mexico: 44.0% (+7.1%)
  42. Florida: 41.9% (+0.2%)
  43. Colorado: 41.7% (+2.4%)
  44. Oklahoma: 41.0% (+3.0%)
  45. Nevada: 40.9% (+0.5%)
  46. Idaho: 40.2% (+0.3%)
  47. Washington: 38.9% (+1.4%)
  48. Arizona: 37.6% (+4.3%)
  49. Utah: 33.9% (+3.9%)
  50. Alaska: 28.3% (-5.4%)

*not all numbers have been fully updated to reflect the 7/1 week