FAFSA Resource Library

NCAN's FAFSA Resource Library

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion is the gateway to postsecondary enrollment and completion. Unfortunately, millions of students who are eligible for financial aid fail to file the FAFSA each year, leaving โ€œmoney on the tableโ€ that could be supporting their postsecondary education. Thatโ€™s why NCAN created this online Resource Library; to weed through the tremendous amount of information about what works to increase FAFSA completion. We've identified key resources for the major areas all communities should address when creating or strengthening a FAFSA completion initiative. These major areas are:

  • Laying the groundwork for FAFSA completion and identifying/engaging partners.
  • Guiding student through the FAFSA completion process, as well as all that comes after the form is completed.
  • Training partners to understand why FAFSA completion is important, as well as how to help students and families through the process.
  • Communicating effectively with students and families through effective messaging and the appropriate communications vehicles.
  • Accessing and using student-level FAFSA completion data to target your FAFSA completion efforts efficiently.

NCAN staff will update these pages as new resources are available. We are grateful to Ascendium Education Group and the Kresge Foundation for their support of NCAN's FAFSA completion efforts over the past several years. Their support has made it possible for NCAN to create this Resource Library, manage the 2018-19 FAFSA Completion Challenge, and produce the 2019 FAFSA Completion Summer Institute and the 2020 FAFSA Completion Institute Summer Webinar Series.

FAFSA Planning Calendar ๐Ÿ“…

The sequencing of FAFSA completion activities is important to make sure you are offering students the right assistance at just the right time. Click here for a timeline to help communities think through which activities should take place when throughout the FAFSA completion cycle.

Laying the Groundwork/Engaging Partners ๐Ÿค

The first critical steps in any FAFSA completion initiative involve planning and identifying and securing the buy-in/engagement of partners. Click here for topics on how to lay a strong foundation for your community's FAFSA completion work.

Completing the Form ๐Ÿ“

Keeping up with changes to the FAFSA, helping your students and families understand the importance of completing FAFSA, and helping them through the process is at the core of your FAFSA completion efforts. 

Training and Capacity Building ๐Ÿ“š

Who needs to be trained to guide students and families through the FAFSA completion process? Where can you find some great existing training materials? And which members of your community need to have information on the importance of FAFSA completion? 

Communication ๐Ÿ“ฑ

Communication is not only about informing students and families about where FAFSA completion events will take place. It's important to deliver messages that will resonate with your target audience using communication vehicles that will actually reach them.

Accessing and Using Data ๐Ÿ“Š

Accessing and using student-level FAFSA completion data will improve the efficiency of your efforts. Ensuring that the data are used to target students who have not competed the form and to share progress can motivate communities to reach FAFSA completion goals.

More Resources: Form Your Future

Form Your Futureยฎ is a national campaign to increase FAFSA completion by high school seniors, specifically students from low-income backgrounds and students of color. These students are less likely to apply for financial aid, even though they could benefit from it most.

NCAN's Form Your Future website includes a variety of resources to support your FAFSA completion efforts, including the #FormYourFuture FAFSA Completion Tracker, a guide to filling out the FAFSA, a listing of key FAFSA completion resources in each state, and more.