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South Dakota students miss out on federal funds for college

A hypothetical FAFSA admission ticket

February 3, 2022

The South Dakota high school class of 2021 missed out on more than $7 million in Pell Grants by not applying for federal financial aid.

According to a recent analysis by the National College Attainment Network (NCAN), students left Pell Grants “on the table by not completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).” Nationally, the high school class of 2021 could have received approximately $37.5 billion in Pell Grants if students who qualified had completed the FAFSA.

Students who had financial need and pursued postsecondary education in the 2020-21 academic year could have received up to $6,345 in Pell Grants.

According to the NCAN research, which was based on an earlier analysis by NerdWallet, more than 1.7 million students nationally did not complete the FAFSA in the 2020-21 academic year and according to data from the Office of Federal Student Aid, almost half of those students were Pell Grant-eligible.

In its announcement, NCAN said, “we can put postsecondary education within reach for more students by helping them access the Pell Grant dollars for which they are eligible. This is particularly true for students who face historical and structural inequities, including students of color and students experiencing poverty.”