While the new school year just started, there are important changes to the FAFSA process that both current and aspiring students should know about.
Our partners at College Ave Student Loans will break down the details surrounding the FAFSA changes below, but here’s a summary of what you need to know:
- Students can complete the FAFSA for the 2017-2018 school year starting on October 1, 2016.
- Students will report income from 2015 for the 2017-2018 FAFSA.
Getting ready to complete your FAFSA for the upcoming year? Keep reading.
Students Can Submit the FAFSA Earlier
Students can now complete and submit the FAFSA three months earlier than in previous years. Instead of the traditional January 1st open date, applications for the 2017-2018 school year will be accepted as early as October 1, 2016. This is important to know because the earlier you file, the better opportunity you have to receive the maximum aid. No fewer than ten states award student grants on a first-come, first-served basis. Students who file the FAFSA in the first three months of it becoming available have historically received more than twice the grant aid of those who file later. (See more FAFSA tips to maximize your eligibility)
*In some cases, you may even receive your financial aid offer from a college earlier if you’re in the front of the line, but that is not guaranteed. It’s all based on how individual schools go about their business.
Be sure to stay on top of federal and state deadlines for student aid, and check with the colleges you’re applying to regarding their student aid deadlines. Just remember, when the FAFSA opens on October 1st, don’t wait to submit it.
Reporting Income Information from an Earlier Tax Year
The tax information required will also change. Learn more about this process and how the changes might affect you by reading Important FAFSA Changes You Need to Know on the College Ave Student Loans blog.