July 26, 2010
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.