Sending letters to HUD-assisted youth had no significant effect on FAFSA completion rates

Person holding form

Person holding form

What was the challenge?

Research shows that low-income students attend college at rates lower than their more affluent peers. Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step to receiving federal financial aid, but the application process can create barriers to access for some students, leading to incomplete forms and a resulting lack of access to financial aid.

What was the program change?

We developed nine mail interventions applying research insights to encourage HUD-assisted youth to complete the FAFSA. The variations tested both the messenger and format of the mailing.

How did the evaluation work?

Approximately 45,000 individuals received one of the nine variations, and roughly 160,000 individuals received no mailing.

What was the impact?

There are no significant effects of sending mailings on the rate of FAFSA completions. 22% of individuals who received a mailing completed the FAFSA, which was 0.30 percentage point higher than those who did not receive a mailing.





Project Type

Impact evaluation of program change


Housing and Urban Development, Education



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