A record-high number of high school seniors in Tennessee filed for federal student aid this year, leading the nation in filings for the third year in a row.
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said Thursday that 73.5 percent of Tennessee high school seniors filed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2017-2018 academic year. Filling out the FAFSA is a requirement to get federal and state aid for post-secondary education, including Tennessee Promise and the HOPE Lottery Scholarship.
The figure is important as it shows the number of students planning additional education after high school. Haslam said it is a key indicator as the state pursues his Drive to 55 initiative, which aims to have 55 percent of Tennesseans with a post-secondary degree or certificate by 2025.
“First-time freshman enrollment in Tennessee has grown 13 percent in the past two years and more students than ever are going to college,” Haslams said in a statement. “As a state, we have invested in making college accessible and open to everyone and students are hearing the message.”
According to state figures, Tennessee leads the nation in FAFSA filings. The District of Columbia comes in second with a 64.8 percent, followed by Delaware (61.6%), New Jersey (61.0%), and Massachusetts (60.4%).