Date of Award

Summer 7-29-2022

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



Committee Chair

Dr. Jason Wallace

Committee Chair School



Financial aid is an essential piece to college access across the country. For most students, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step in the process of obtaining grants and loans to help pay for college. The purpose of this study was to identify barriers that graduating high school seniors face when attempting to complete the FAFSA. To further understand the barriers that exist, 1,774 students were asked to participate in survey research. A total of 32 participants completed the survey. This study added to existing research by discussing the barriers community college students specifically in Alabama faced throughout the FAFSA process. The study results answered the following research question:

  1. What barriers are high school students in the greater Birmingham, AL area experiencing that prevent them from completing the FAFSA?

The major themes identified were lack of knowledge and information about the FAFSA, lack of parental support, citizenship concerns and a lack of helpful resources. The findings of this study can be used to guide high school guidance counselors, financial aid officers and higher education administrators to better serve and assist students, advocate for policy change, develop FAFSA literacy information and strategically help students in getting financial assistance for college.

Available for download on Wednesday, August 14, 2024