Most Freshmen Apply to Only One College, Says Federal Report

Two-thirds of college freshmen who filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) last year indicated that they were applying to only one institution, according to new data released by the U.S. Department of Education on Thursday.

The department's Federal Student Aid Data Center's quarterly update found that 68 percent of freshmen who applied for federal student aid during the 2014-15 academic year designated a single school to send their financial aid application information, signifying that they were only applying for admission to one institution. In 2008-09, 80 percent of such students recorded just one school.

Still, the Obama administration called the new data "troubling."

"By focusing on only one school, students run the risk of being turned down for admission or losing out on better financial aid and educational opportunities from another school, with ramifications that can last a lifetime," Education Secretary Arne Duncan said in a statement.

The quarterly report also noted that students are filing the FAFSA earlier and more easily than ever. In 2014-2015, 43 percent of applicants filed in the first quarter of the application cycle compared to 37 percent back in 2006-2007. Additionally, usage of the Internal Revenue Service's Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) is at an all-time high. Among 2014-2015 independent applicants who had filed their taxes, 58 percent used the tool; and among parents of dependent applicants, 46 percent used it.


Related Links

U.S. Department of Education Press Release