RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Fewer students are filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid that is known as the FAFSA.
The Daily Press reported Friday that applications were down 8.2% nationwide. In Virginia, the drop in applications was slightly steeper at 8.7%.
The decrease in applications is even more pronounced at schools in which most of students are non-white or from low-income families. Students at the state’s low-income high schools have filed roughly 31% fewer applications this year.
“It’s exacerbating gaps that existed before the pandemic,” said Erin McGrath, assistant director for college access and PK-12 outreach for the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.
One reason for the drop is the coronavirus pandemic. Among other things, it has disrupted many of the hands-on, in-person events that schools often hold to help families work through the form.
Some students who aren’t excited about the prospect of taking virtual classes in college may also be holding off from filling out the FAFSA.