July 24, 2023

53% of U.S. Seniors Completed a FAFSA This Year; How About in Arizona?

High school seniors from the class of 2023 completed 3.9% more FAFSAs than the previous year, resulting in a high school completion rate of about 53.4% by June 30, according to recent data from the National College Access Network (NCAN)’s FAFSA Tracker. This outcome improves on the class of 2022’s 52.1% and marks the second straight year of FAFSA completion increases after two dismal pandemic-influenced FAFSA completion performances in 2020 and 2021.

NCAN’s FAFSA Tracker also considers FAFSA completion at the state, city, district, and state levels. Arizona’s class of 2023 finished with a year-over-year change in FAFSA completions of 5.8%, which ranked 11th nationally. By percent of high school seniors completing by June 30, Arizona had an estimated 39.4%, which ranked 49th.

The FAFSA completion levels in Arizona represent an improvement relative to the class of 2022. Last year’s seniors had a year-over-year change of 4.4% good for 8th nationally, and 37.6% of seniors completed last year, which ranked 49th.

The FAFSA Tracker also consider year-over-year changes by high school demographics:

  • High-minority high schools, where 40% or greater of students are Black or Hispanic, saw FAFSA completions grew by 7% while their counterparts’ completions grew by 3.7%.
  • Percent changes in FAFSA completions for Arizona’s city, suburban, small town, and rural high schools were 4.4%, 4.2%, 9.9%, and 11.9%, respectively.

NCAN will continue to monitor and report on the class of 2023’s FAFSA completion outcomes until the 2024-25 award year cycle starts for the high school class of 2024.

Speaking of the 2024-25 award year, its opening will be delayed until sometime in December 2023. Although the FAFSA cycle normally opens October 1, the implementation of the Better FAFSA this fall forced Federal Student Aid (FSA) into pushing the opening date back.

Practitioners, policymakers, and advocates across the country are preparing for the start of the Better FAFSA this fall, which represents both process and content changes to the FAFSA. The Better FAFSA also represents the first back-end overhaul of FSA’s data systems in about 40 years.


NCAN is committed to providing resources and guidance to practitioners and advocates in implementing the Better FAFSA. NCAN is continuously expanding this resource page as more tools are released and produced. This fall, NCAN will host numerous webinars training counselors and advisors on key components of the Better FAFSA to help ensure that they feel prepared once the cycle does open.

Interested in keeping track of FAFSA completion resources and receiving tips and advice throughout the academic year? Sign up for NCAN’s email newsletter, which comes out monthly starting in August! This is an NCAN that is free to non-members, so sign up and share it widely to take advantage of strategies to connect students with financial aid!

Written by Bill DeBaun, Senior Director, National College Attainment Network