ContactBrittany Francis, Ph.D.Public Information and Communications Director (225) 219-3306 Office Tyana DaquanoPublic Information Officer (225) 342-5173 Office Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) Louisiana ranks #1 in FAFSA Completion
Baton Rouge – For high school graduating seniors, the 2020-21 school year has been like no other. As students prepared for their post-secondary studies, the coronavirus pandemic brought on hardships; Economic fallout led to the loss of family income, making some question how they could afford college. The Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) has always been a proponent of connecting students with gift aid (free money) such as grants and scholarships to ease the post-secondary price tag. Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), particularly this year, was a critical piece of the college going-process.
According to the National College Attainment Network’s (NCAN) FAFSA Tracker, Louisiana ranks number one in the nation for FAFSA completion. The latest data shows 71.5 percent or 33,403 of Louisiana’s 2021 high school graduates completed their FAFSA as of May 28, 2021. That’s a change of -2.0% (-680) completions compared to this same time last year. “We are extremely proud of our students and parents. The FAFSA not only expands equity of access and affordability to Louisiana students, it is an indicator of whether students plan to seamlessly enroll at a postsecondary institution following high school graduation,” said Dr. Sujuan Boutte, Executive Director of LOSFA Programs. “Families experienced many challenges this year, but this data shows us that students and parents know there is real value in education beyond a high school diploma.” The FAFSA provides access to federal aid such as the Pell Grant, Work-Study, and Federal Student Loans. In addition, the FAFSA is the application for state aid like the Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS), TOPS Tech, and the Louisiana GO Grant. While the pandemic affected many families’ finances, LOSFA continued to encourage students to focus on what they can control, which was to first complete the application for financial aid early and, if necessary, make adjustments later. Colleges and universities receive money to award students, some of which are first-come, first-serve. If students wait too long to complete the FAFSA, they could miss out on potential financial aid dollars. “I am proud to applaud our students and educators for prioritizing FASFA completion because of the opportunity it represents,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Kim Hunter Reed. “College is only achievable when it is accessible, equitable and, of course, affordable. We recognize that reality here in Louisiana, where talent development is our top priority.” This year, LOSFA offered virtual FAFSA sessions and conducted FAFSA events to provide one-on-one assistance for students and their parents. School counselors also utilized LOSFA’s virtual services to help larger groups with FAFSA questions.
Those students who graduated from high school this year (2021) have until June 30, 2022, to complete a FAFSA. LOSFA encourages those who have not completed a FAFSA, or those who may have errors to correct, to do so as soon as possible to avoid delays in receiving credit for financial aid available to them. Click here to complete the FAFSA or download the free myStudentAid app to get started.