What Students and their Parents Need to Know About the 2017-2018 FAFSA
Category: Individual Tax Planning
Posted: August 2016
The following information has been compiled by the Federal Student Aid Office of the U.S. Department of Education.
People starting college in the fall of 2017 probably haven’t decided where they are going to school, but it’s almost time to start applying for financial aid! States and schools use the FAFSA to award financial aid, and some distribute these dollars on a firstcome, firstserved basis. The longer you wait to submit your FAFSA, the lower your chances of receiving assistance.
What’s changing for 2017 – 2018?
Starting with the 2017 – 2018 Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), two changes will be in effect:
You’ll be able to submit your FAFSA earlier. You can file your 2017 – 2018 FAFSA as early as October 1, 2016, rather than beginning on January 1, 2017. This is a permanent change, enabling completion and submission of the FAFSA as early as October 1 each year.
You’ll use earlier income and tax information. Beginning with the 2017 – 2018 FAFSA, students and parents will be required to report income and tax information from 2015. Under previous rules, the information from 2016 would have been required.
How will the changes benefit me?
The Federal Student Aid office expects that you will benefit in these ways:
Because the FAFSA will ask for older income and tax information, you will already have completed your taxes by the time you submit the FAFSA form, and you won’t need to estimate and then go back into the form later to update it.
You may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically import your tax information into your FAFSA. Any data transferred unmodified from the IRS is not subject to verification, which can be especially important for students who have difficulty in the verification process.
You may feel less pressure due to having more time to explore and understand your financial aid options and apply for aid before your state’s and school’s deadlines.
You will not necessarily receive aid offers earlier if you apply earlier. Some schools and states will make offers earlier, and some won’t. As part of your exploration process, you can look at the costs of various schools on the College Scorecard at collegescorecard.ed.gov. Please note that the maximum Federal Pell Grant for 2017 – 2018 won’t be known until early 2017, so even if you do receive an early aid offer, it could change due to various factors.
Still have more questions about how to complete your FAFSA or your child’s FAFSA? Contact our office at 6167844445, and we’ll let you know how we can help.