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$3.6 billion in Pell Grants unclaimed last year. Photo: Getty

Pennsylvania Class of 2022 left $118.5M in Pell Grants unclaimed

The National College Attainment Network found that $3.6 billion in Pell Grant awards was left unclaimed by class of 2022

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A new analysis by the National College Attainment Network (NCAN) found that eligible high school seniors left approximately $3.6 billion in Pell Grant awards last year of which $118,503,612 million correspond to high school students in Pennsylvania. 

“Today's findings are bittersweet. The class of 2022's FAFSA completion increase means more students are accessing the Pell Grant, but so many students across the country are still not getting the financial aid that could put a postsecondary pathway within reach,” said NCAN CEO Kim Cook in a report

However, Pennsylvania Class of 2021 left $115,024,962 unclaimed for a total of $233,528,574 within the last two years. The study also found that out of the 67,782 FAFSA  that were not completed 25,532 were Pell Grant eligible. 

“Oklahoma, Florida, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada are the only five states whose FAFSA non-completion percentage and Pell Grant eligibility percentage are over 50%; consequently, these states (and their students) stand to gain substantially in terms of federal financial aid if they can increase FAFSA completion,” the report says. 

According to the report, seven states with the highest rates of FAFSA completion for last year were Washington, DC (74%), Louisiana (69%), Illinois (68%), Texas (63%), Rhode Island (63%), and Alabama (62%). 

“FAFSA completion performance was generally stronger across the country for the high school class of 2022 than for 2021,” the report states. “This increase was a key driver of the slight decrease in Pell Grant dollars left on the table by the class of 2022 compared to 2021. When the number of Pell Grants left on the table decreases, it means more students are completing the FAFSA and receiving Pell Grants for which they may be eligible.”

Pennsylvania Class of 2022 FAFSA  completion was 50.4% from its 65% FAFSA  completion goal. 

Since 2021 after NCAN reported that $3.75 billion in Pell Grants was unclaimed by the class of 2021, PA Department of Education (PDE) teamed up with the Governor’s office, PA Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA), PA Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (PASFAA), PA Association of College Admission Counselors (PACAC) and PA School Counselors Association (PSCA) and created PA FAFSA Go! campaign to help students complete their FAFSA  application by directing them to resources.

 

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This article is part of Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project among more than 20 news organizations, focused on economic mobility in Philadelphia. Read all of our reporting at brokeinphilly.org.

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