One of the barriers to accessing higher education is financing the rising costs of tuition and student fees, yet many college students do not apply for financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Completing the FAFSA can be a critical component accessing postsecondary education. The FAFSA is required to qualify for federal, state and most institutional financial aid.
The Office of Higher Education has examined the FAFSA filing patterns of Minnesota resident undergraduates who enrolled at a Minnesota postsecondary institution. The data looks at student-level enrollment information submitted to the agency by Minnesota institutions, and compares student enrollment with federal financial aid data to determine whether the student filed a FAFSA.
The last economic recession had a direct impact on FAFSA filing. From 2008 to 2011, the percentage of Minnesota enrolled undergraduates filing the FAFSA increased by nearly 19%. During that same period, overall enrollment of Minnesota students increased by about 11%. Although enrollment levels have declined since 2011, FAFSA filing has remained stable. On average, from 2011 to 2018, nearly 81% of Minnesota resident students filed a FAFSA annually, compared with 68% in 2008.
Filing rates vary by institution sector. In 2018, students at Minnesota State Universities filed the FAFSA at the highest rate (83%), compared to other institutional sectors.
Within overall FAFSA filing trends, there are notable differences in FAFSA filing within different categories of students.
Student type also plays a role in FAFSA filing rates.
This pattern is also reflected in FAFSA filing rates by student age.
FAFSA filing rates vary by area. Typically, FAFSA filing rates of Minnesota college students from greater Minnesota are higher than those of their Metro area peers. In 2018, 82% of enrolled students from greater Minnesota filed a FAFSA, compared with a FAFSA filing rate of 76% for Metro area students.
This map shows the percent of students from each county that filed a FAFSA while enrolled at a Minnesota postsecondary institution. Click on the county to see which Minnesota institutions students enrolled at. Students who enrolled at an out-of-state college are not included in these totals.
Data from the U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Aid Data Centers provides statistics on the number of FAFSAs completed by the student's state of legal residence, prospective college of enrollment, and high school of enrollment.
Also see data from Minnesota's FAFSA Completion Initiative.