After the FAFSA
How Red Tape Can Prevent Eligible Students from Receiving Financial Aid

July 26, 2010
Debbie Cochrane
This report sheds light on what happens to federal financial aid applicants after they submit the FAFSA. Using 2007-08 financial aid data from 13 California community colleges, the Institute found that one in three likely Pell-eligible applicants did not receive a Pell Grant. Also, while few students' Pell-eligibility status changed after verification, applicants selected for verification were less likely to receive grants. Through interviews and a survey, both financial aid administrators and students suggested that the complexity of the process - rather than widespread attempts by students to manipulate their eligibility or commit fraud - were the primary reason why students selected for verification were less likely to receive grants.