Monthly Features

There Is HUGE News, The “New” FAFSA Is Live!!

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) hasn’t changed much, but when and how you use it sure has.The FAFSA for 2017-2018 went live online this past weekend (October 1) instead of January 1. The tax information for the FAFSA will be from 2015, tax returns that were done a long time ago for almost everyone. Hurrah! No more having to use estimated financial information to get the FAFSA on file for the colleges and states, and then having to go back in and amend it once your taxes are done. This means that if a student is offered admission this fall and the FAFSA gets filed early too, the colleges will be in a position to send financial aid awards out much earlier, so you will know where you stand…and still have time to change plans if need be.

Why the changes? The notion of using the prior tax year has been out there since the Bill Clinton administration, but it is President Obama who finally made the change. This makes the financial aid process more consumer-centric because students and their families will, in most cases, have more time to make their important college decisions. It also means that for most single parents or married parents filing taxes jointly, they can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA to simply pull over their 2015 tax return information to put it on the FAFSA, greatly simplifying the process for those who can use this tool.  

This change also means you need to find out about any priority FAFSA filing deadlines that the colleges you are considering may have for this year. Many will move up their preferred filing dates.

For more information for students and parents, go to this brief video:

Publication Date: October 2016