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Student federal financial aid applications are down nationwide — especially in Idaho.

Posted at 9:12 PM, Feb 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 09:24:35-05

BOISE, Idaho — The U.S. Department of Education said filings for Free Application for Federal Student Aid are down more than 9% nationwide, but even more so in Idaho.

Idaho has seen a 12% decrease in filings compared to this time last year.

"There are a lot of reasons for this. A lot of it is high school seniors are not in school where there are all these natural cues for filing a FAFSA, be it a counselor, a coach, a teacher, someone bugging you to file a FAFSA or a poster in the hallway. Those cues just are not available to students this year," said Ed Pacchetti, Director of Customer Analytics for Federal Student Aid at the U.S. Department of Education.

Pacchetti said other factors played into the possible decline in FAFSA filings like the uncertainty of a family's ability to pay for college, or students not knowing whether the instruction will be in-person or virtual.

"Even if you're not sure if your family can afford college this fall, go ahead and file the FAFSA and make sure that you will get all the money you're entitled to get. Pell grant money, student loan money, institutional aid, state aid; all that money that is available to you, you will get, but you need to file the FAFSA," he said.

The U.S. Department of Education has tools to help students this year who may need help filing this year. Pacchetti said there is also enhanced help for those who get stuck on a question, including a virtual assistant.

To fill out and submit the FAFSA form online click here, or you can file through the myStudentAid mobile app.

If you are a student and need resources, click here. You can also call someone over the phone to help guide you through the process at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) and TTY for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, call 1-800-730-8913

The deadline to file is Monday, March 1.