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FAFSA Application Statistics

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The following table shows the total number of Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms received by the US Department of Education during each quarter of the application season. FAFSAs can be submitted from January 1 until the end of the award year (the following June 30), yielding a total of six quarters of data.

Some data is missing because the US Department of Education did not release data in a consistent quarterly fashion before 2008-09.

Number of FAFSAs Submitted by Quarter
Year Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6
2012-13 9,258,079 5,749,582 3,747,657      
2011-12 9,182,527 5,776,826 3,797,109 1,653,214 1,031,735 504,186
2010-11 8,070,850 5,789,510 3,975,330 1,654,112 1,109,184 512,780
2009-10 6,871,201 5,156,894 3,926,017 1,785,111 1,204,909 542,148
2008-09 5,449,774 4,430,751 3,371,325 1,429,800 1,137,904 580,284
2007-08 5,148,560 4,061,112 2,938,976 1,161,597 867,608 430,665
2006-07 5,137,719 3,955,290 2,730,051 1,054,763 776,840 379,804
2005-06 3,757,971 3,454,145 2,354,907 862,056 608,640 316,204
2004-05 3,973,381     937,599 644,188 353,217
2003-04 3,634,411          
2002-03 3,666,669 3,935,556        
2001-02 3,276,100 3,641,719        

The following table shows the cumulative number of FAFSAs received by the US Department of Education by the end of each quarter of the application season.

Cumulative Number of FAFSAs Submitted
Year Q1-Q1 Q1-Q2 Q1-Q3 Q1-Q4 Q1-Q5 Q1-Q6
2012-13 9,258,079 15,007,661 18,755,318      
2011-12 9,182,527 14,959,353 18,756,462 20,409,676 21,441,411 21,945,597
2010-11 8,070,850 13,860,360 17,835,690 19,489,802 20,598,986 21,111,766
2009-10 6,871,201 12,028,095 15,954,112 17,739,223 18,944,132 19,486,280
2008-09 5,449,774 9,880,525 13,251,850 14,681,650 15,819,554 16,399,838
2007-08 5,148,560 9,209,672 12,148,648 13,310,245 14,177,853 14,608,518
2006-07 5,137,719 9,093,009 11,823,060 12,877,823 13,654,663 14,034,467
2005-06 3,757,971 7,212,116 9,567,023 10,429,079 11,037,719 11,353,923
2004-05 3,973,381   9,858,495 10,796,094 11,440,282 11,793,499
2003-04 3,634,411          
2002-03 3,666,669 7,602,225        
2001-02 3,276,100 6,917,819       11,399,938
2000-01           10,544,971
1999-00           10,209,642
1998-99           9,933,778
1997-98           9,874,785

Increases in the Number of Financial Aid Applications

The number of FAFSAs submitted in Q1 of 2010-11 represent a 17.5% increase over the same period in 2009-10, an increase of about 1.2 million. The number of FAFSAs submitted in Q2 of 2010-11 represent a 12.3% increase over the same period in 2009-10, an increase of about 630,000. The number of FAFSAs submitted in Q3 of 2010-11 represent a 1.3% increase over the same period in 2009-10, an increase of about 49,000. The number of FAFSAs submitted in Q4 of 2010-11 represent a 7.3% decrease over the same period in 2009-10, an decrease of about 131,000. The number of FAFSAs submitted in Q5 of 2010-11 represent a 7.9% decrease over the same period in 2009-10, an decrease of about 96,000. Thus it appears that the increase in the number of FAFSAs from one year to the next has started slowing. However, the number of FAFSAs submitted in Q1 of 2011-12 represent a 13.8% increase over the same period in 2010-11, an increase of about 1.1 million, so perhaps the year-over-year decreases in Q4 and Q5 of 2010-11 represent a shifting of applications to earlier quarters more than they represent a slowing of the number of applications. The YTD cumulative number of FAFSAs submitted in Q1 through Q5 of 2010-11 is 20.6 million, fairly close to the total postsecondary enrollment.

From 2007-08 to 2010-11, the number of FAFSAs submitted increased from one year to the next at record rates. The number of FAFSAs submitted in Q1-Q6 of 2009-10 represent a 18.8% increase over the same period in 2008-09, an increase of more than 3.1 million. This represents a 33.4% increase over the same period in 2007-08, an increase of more than 4.8 million. The number of FAFSAs submitted in 2008-09 (Q1-Q6) represent a 12.3% increase over the number of FAFSAs submitted in 2007-08, an increase of more than 1.7 million. The number of FAFSAs submitted in 2007-08 (Q1-Q6) represent a 4.1% increase over the number of FAFSAs submitted in 2006-07, and increase of more than 500,000.

The number of FAFSAs have been increasing at an average annual rate of 4.7% from 1997-98 (when FAFSA on the Web first became available) to 2008-09.

Change in Number of FAFSAs Submitted by Quarter
Year Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6 Total
2011-12 1,111,677 (12,684)          
2010-11 1,199,649 632,616 49,313 (130,999) (95,725) (29,368) 1,625,486
2009-10 1,421,427 726,143 554,692 355,311 67,005 (38,136) 3,086,442
2008-09 301,214 369,639 432,349 268,203 270,296 149,619 1,791,320
2007-08 10,841 105,822 208,925 106,834 90,768 50,861 574,051
2006-07 1,379,748 501,145 375,144 192,707 168,200 63,600 2,680,544
2005-06 (215,410)     (75,543) (35,548) (37,013) (439,576)
2004-05 338,970            
2003-04 (32,258)            
2002-03 390,569            
2001-02 3,276,100           854,967

Change in Number of FAFSAs Submitted by Quarter
Year Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6 Total
2011-12 13.8% -0.2%          
2010-11 17.5% 12.3% 1.3% -7.3% -7.9% -5.4% 8.3%
2009-10 26.1% 16.4% 16.5% 24.9% 5.9% -6.6% 18.8%
2008-09 5.9% 9.1% 14.7% 23.1% 31.2% 34.7% 12.3%
2007-08 0.2% 2.7% 7.7% 10.1% 11.7% 13.4% 4.1%
2006-07 36.7% 14.5% 15.9% 22.4% 27.6% 20.1% 23.6%
2005-06 -5.4%     -8.1% -5.5% -10.5% -3.7%
2004-05 9.3%            
2003-04 -0.9%            
2002-03 11.9%            
2001-02             8.1%
2001-02             3.3%
2001-02             2.8%
2001-02             0.6%

When Do Students Submit the FAFSA?

Typically, one third of FAFSAs are submitted in the first quarter of the application processing season, three-fifths by the end of the second quarter, five-sixths by the end of the third quarter and 91% by the end of the fourth quarter. Only 6% and 3% of the FAFSAs are submitted in the fifth and sixth quarters, respectively.

Colleges and States with the Most FAFSAs

The following table shows the colleges with the most FAFSAs, based on the full season statistics for 2008-09.

School # FAFSAs
University of Phoenix 535,380
Kaplan University 130,791
DeVry University 95,723
Penn State University 85,377
University of California - Los Angeles (UCLA) 77,268
Ohio State University 66,983
University of California - Berkeley 62,133
Arizona State University 60,258
New York University 57,480
Ashford University 57,217

The following table shows the states with the most FAFSAs, based on the full season statistics for 2008-09.

State # FAFSAs
California 1,857,504
Texas 1,210,820
New York 1,024,366
Florida 1,011,177
Ohio 699,216
Illinois 676,345
Michigan 653,607
Pennsylvania 648,381
Georgia 606,158
North Carolina 466,883

Additional Resources

Quarterly FAFSA application statistics by state and by school since 2006-07 are available in the FSA Datacenter section of the US Department of Education's web site.

 

 
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