How FAFSA Changes Can Affect You!

NEW OCTOBER FILING for FAFSA OCTOBER 1.have-you-completed-fafsa-yet

A new change to the process of applying for federal financial aid could lead students to make smarter choices when borrowing for college. Starting this year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which was previously available for students and their families to fill out in January, is available for everyone starting October 1 (It used to be just those applying for freshman admission that needed to do their FAFSA so early.)   The shift is significant since it will give students a better sense of the federal student aid they may be eligible for much earlier in the application process.

  1. YOU CAN REUSE LAST YEAR’S TAX RETURN FOR NEXT YEAR’S FAFSA.

fafsa-app

One of the biggest conveniences for parents of undergraduate students with regards to the new FAFSA is this: You can reuse last year’s income tax return for next year’s financial aid filing. In other words, the 2015 tax return that is used on our 2016 FAFSA can be reused for our 2017 FAFSA. Previously, you had to wait until you filed your taxes each year to do the FAFSA. Then you had to upload the new information to the FAFSA using something called the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. That tool should still be available for the early FAFSA, but there won’t be any reason to wait to use it. Since it uses an older tax return, the information should already be there–if you filed a FAFSA last spring.

  1. OTHER FINANCIAL AID FORM DEADLINES HAVE CHANGED as WELL.

Private colleges use the FAFSA like public universities do, but private colleges also require a second financial aid form to be completed.  It’s called the CSS Profile, which the College Board administers. It asks for different information from the FAFSA.  It is worth completing each year, and word around town is it will be moving up its deadline to match this new early FAFSA.

  1. THE ACTUAL FAFSA DEADLINE BELOW.

fafsa-deadline

While it has moved up the release date of the FAFSA, the Department of Education has confirmed the deadline for filling a FAFSA for the 2017-2018 school years on their website here. These dates have been recently released and changes from previous years so long on for the information.

  1. EXPECT SCHOOL FINANCIAL AID DEADLINES to MOVE UP TOO

Some colleges are saying that with the early FAFSA they will have financial aid award notices available by February.  That means that if you wait until January to work on FAFSA, you could be too late.  Check with your son’s or daughter’s college or university financial aid office to confirm that school’s deadline. And don’t wait until the last minute to fill out all of these forms.

procrastination

Basically, all of these changes mean that there is no time for procrastination when it comes to applying for financial aid for the 2017-2018 school years. If you are the parent of an undergraduate student (or soon to be freshman), you’re already late. Get started on the early FAFSA  NOW it is available.

Again, everyone, regardless of income, should fill out the FAFSA. You cannot get federal student loans without a completed FAFSA. Federal student loans are not income dependent. So don’t miss out.

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