According to a recent report, LendingTree estimates a 22% decrease in FAFSA applications for this upcoming academic year compared to last year, likely due to the pandemic.
“We compared it to the first academic year of COVID, and we see that it is in fact lower just because there’s been more time where people might not have been going to university and therefore not filing FAFSA,” said Michael Kitchen, student loan managing editor at LendingTree.
Despite the drop in total applications, there has been an increase in high school students applying. Kitchen said this shows a potential recovery in the number of people going to college and a decrease in the amount of available money left on the table.
“… College is, of course, very expensive, and so, any aid that you can get is really worthwhile,” he said.
FAFSA can go toward grants, work studies and student loans depending on the student and school they’re going to.
“Federal student loans have much better terms than you would get from a private lender [for] private student loans,” Kitchen said.
FAFSA applications for the upcoming academic school year are due June 30. To apply, click here.
In addition to federal aid, Kitchen recommends looking into state aid and college-dispersed aid to help lower costs.