Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) verification and its role in summer melt is examined in this brief. Summer melt is when high school seniors who appear ready to go to college the fall following graduation do not enroll.

Key findings include:

  • FAFSA verification increased the likelihood of summer melt by six percentage points.
  • One-third of Houston Independent School District (HISD) college-intending students were flagged for FAFSA verification, and racial and ethnic minorities were especially at risk of verification.

Reducing FAFSA verification and/or providing support to students and families managing the process may be a way to improve college enrollment rates and reduce summer melt.