FAFSA visualization

Okay, the last post was pretty intense. I know. And no pictures, either! What sort of monster am I?

My supervisors at REF have been very impressed with my ability to make graphs in Microsoft Excel (thanks, college), so I’ve thrown a few together to illustrate rates of FAFSA completion within RCSD schools, and among school districts in Monroe County. The FAFSA is a free form provided by the U.S. government that acts as a calculator of financial need for college-going students. Students are not eligible for financial aid until they complete this form, so this is a crucial step in the college process, and a strong determinant of whether a student will be able to pay for their education. The FAFSA data are provided by the U.S. Department of Education, and the number of students comes from data from the New York State Education Department.

A note on methodology: The FAFSA numbers are for the 2011-2012 academic year, meaning that these forms were completed by students who were graduating high school in 2011 and entering their first year of college. The student numbers are seniors from the class of 2011. I decided to present the number of enrolled seniors, and not the number of graduating students, to account for any students who may have completed the FAFSA but were unable to graduate, since we are here examining the degree to which a school environment yields FAFSA completion. Also, many RCSD schools on the first graph no longer exist, due to district restructuring. Go figure.

Lastly, I am terribly sorry for the condition of these images. Microsoft PowerPoint had no interest in helping make this look presentable. Click on the graphs to read them. I’m happy to provide data tables, as well.



What shall we make of these numbers?


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4 responses to “FAFSA visualization”

  1. Anna says :

    The Pittsford FAFSA numbers are relatively low. Could this have anything to do with rich families who choose not to fill out the form because they’re not planning on applying for federal aid?

    • wahlchelsea says :

      I felt that they were low, too. I think that’s a reasonable guess, but barring more detailed information about who fills out the FAFSA, we can’t really say. It’s an interesting inconsistency. I have a friend who used to work for a sort of boutique college application service in Pittsford, I’ll ask her about it.

  2. Kristin says :

    This is so interesting. I would love to see the numbers for FAFSA completion taking into account the restructuring of the RCSD high schools, especially Edison and the College Preps.

    • wahlchelsea says :

      You make a great point. In fact, aggregating this data was pretty annoying, since the state is still catching up on measures from schools that don’t exist anymore within RCSD. It’ll be very interesting to see what happens at Edison, Douglas, NE/NW, etc.

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