Education Department Announces New Data Showing FAFSA Completion by District, State

Archived Information

Education Department Announces New Data Showing FAFSA Completion by District, State

Hardship Deferments, Delinquencies, and New Defaults Continue to Decrease as Income-Driven Repayment Enrollment Increases
June 16, 2016

The U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Office (FSA) today posted a series of updates to its data center, a collection of key performance data on the federal student aid portfolio. The updates, which continue the Department’s commitment to greater transparency on the federal student loan portfolio and other key financial aid metrics, include school district-level Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion rates and the total fiscal year-to-date dollar amount recovered in defaulted student loans by guaranty agency and collection type.

“Though students ultimately make the choice to attend college, no one makes the journey to college alone,” said U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. “It is up to all of us to make the dream of a college education more accessible for more families by removing roadblocks to college and giving borrowers options to help manage their debt. The latest updates to the FSA Data Center, which for the first time offer district-level FAFSA completion data and state-level maps, serve as additional tools for schools and families to help students go to college.”

The FAFSA reports build on existing data on the number of public high school students completing their FAFSA forms, which is a key step in applying for college.

The report on guaranty agency collections provides the cumulative fiscal-year-to-date dollar amount recovered in defaulted student loans by guaranty agency and collection type. This monthly report complements the quarterly private collection agency recoveries report that FSA began posting in December 2015

In the coming weeks, FSA will release additional information about its postsecondary institution oversight responsibilities, including data on colleges that paid fines over the past five fiscal years for violating laws and regulations and historical data about institutions required to submit a letter of credit to continue participation in Title IV student aid programs during FY2013 and FY2014.

The Quarterly Student Aid report is a key part of the FSA Data Center, which was launched in 2009 to increase government transparency by proactively making available information that is useful to the public.

The Obama Administration continues to take action to protect students and safeguard taxpayer dollars. Recently, the Department announced a streamlined process to help student borrowers determine their best repayment option in five steps or less. The Department also is working with the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to better support the more than 40 million Americans with federal student loans by building a new state-of-the-art loan servicing system to further improve student loan servicing practices, promote borrowers' successful loan repayment, and reduce borrower defaults.  Those actions build on years of work by the Administration as part of the President’ Student Aid Bill of Rights.

Key Findings

Other key findings in the quarterly report include:

  • Enrollment in plans such as Income-Based Repayment (IBR), Pay As You Earn (PAYE), and Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) is increasing, as the Department continues to expand income-driven repayment (IDR) options for borrowers. As of March 2016, nearly 4.9 million Direct Loan (DL) borrowers were enrolled in IDR plans, a 40 percent increase from March 2015 and a 117 percent increase from March 2014. Combined with those borrowers in the ED-held FFEL (Federal Family Education Loan program, approximately 5 million unique federally-serviced borrowers are enrolled in IDR plans.
  • Consistent with the trend observed last quarter, hardship deferments, delinquencies, and new defaults have decreased while IDR enrollment has increased. As of March 31, 2016, about 350,000 DL recipients were deferring their payments due to unemployment or economic hardship, a 28.6 percent decrease from the prior year.  In that same time period, there was a 36.6 percent decrease in the number of FFEL recipients in a deferment status due to unemployment or economic hardship.
  • The delinquency rate has experienced year-over-year decreases of 10.6 percent by recipient count and 8.3 percent by total dollar balance while the ED-held FFEL 31+ delinquency rate by total dollar balances decreased 10.4 percent from the same time period last year.
  • New defaults have slightly decreased as a percentage of recipients in repayment the previous quarter. During the most recent quarter (FY2016 Q2), about 276,000 borrowers or 1.8 percent of recipients who were in repayment last quarter entered default.  The percentage of new defaulters slightly decreased from the same time period last year, suggesting that borrowers are taking advantage of the flexibility federal student loan repayment plans offer.

To access the full set of data released today, visit the FSA Data Center at


About the FSA Data Center

The FSA Data Center was launched in 2009 in an effort to increase government transparency by proactively posting information useful to businesses, institutions, the media, and individuals. In addition to the reports listed above, Federal Student Aid regularly posts strategic plans, copies of executed contracts, and school compliance reports, such as Clery Act reports and financial composite scores, on the FSA Data Center. Federal Student Aid is committed to continuing to expand the data sets available on the FSA Data Center in alignment with customer needs.