Obama Administration Makes Important Changes to the 2017-18 FAFSA


President Barack Obama arrived at Berry Airfield on Tuesday, December 9, 2014 to speak on immigration. (Greg French/MTSU Sidelines)

A few changes have been made to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), according to an announcement from President Obama on Sept. 14.

Beginning in the 2017-18 year, students will be able to file as early as Oct. 1 rather than the current date, Jan.1. Additionally, students will be able to report their income information, or their parents’ income information when appropriate, from records of an earlier tax year. For example, when filing for the 2017-18 year, income information for the 2015 year will be entered rather than the 2016 year.

“Everyone agrees this makes it easier and simpler for students to attend college and it should have been done long ago,” said Senator Lamar Alexander. “Congress gave the president authority to do this in 2008. A bipartisan group of Senators have announced our intention to include it in the Senate’s reauthorization of higher education this year.”

For students needing to file a FAFSA for the 2016-17 year, the current guidelines will be followed – the submission process will begin on Jan. 1, 2016. Students will be able to submit their documents at any time between the launch date and June 30, 2017.

The launch date will change to correspond with the new changes beginning with the 2017-18 year, and submissions will be accepted between Oct. 1, 2016 and June 30, 2018.

The changes regarding income information will also allow students and their parents to utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), which imports income information electronically.

These changes eliminate the need to estimate income and tax information, reduce pressure on students and families by providing more time to submit documents, and improves the financial aid process as a whole by better aligning FAFSA deadlines with college admission deadlines.

For more information regarding these changes, visit here.

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To contact news editor Sarah Grace Taylor, email newseditor@mtsusidelines.com.

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4 Comments

  1. Morgan Renae Moore
    September 18, 2015
    Reply

    Education plays a very important role in our society. FASFA plays a very important role in assisting students such as myself with financial coverage to be able to receive an education beyond a high school diploma. With that being stated, I am very glad that the FASFA process is being extended until a much earlier period. It will be really effective for proactive individuals such as myself, in efforts to get the application done faster, because starting four months earlier makes a very huge difference. I notice that my FASFA done on January 1st does not even have my financial aid rewarded until mid- June. Now I am assuming that it will get done much quicker on behalf of the government process rewards. I feel that every school financial aid office in the world goes through the same issue-lots of traffic with student applications, hence causing much more room for errors to be made. Assuming that the enrollment rate is steadily ongoing at a decent number each year for a plethora of schools across the nation, the earlier FASFA date will also allow much more time for corrections and final decisions to be made on a student’s FASFA. For example, if a student is placed in excruciating circumstances, then they are given a little bit more time to decide for emergency assistance, such as a Parent Plus Loan, and if all else fails, a private loan from Sallie Mae. I must say that each year, as a currently enrolled undergraduate student myself, I am sure that every student can agree this is the most stressful element of college-finding money to cover your education. I look forward to the new starting date for the FASFA-October 1st instead of January 1st. Each year I have a tradition of getting my FASFA Done on New Year’s Day. Now that tradition can be broken in two years.

  2. Shaina
    October 2, 2015
    Reply

    I think this is great and will help a lot of students and their families in getting aid for college. FASFA can be very difficult, especially for young adults who are unsure of how to file taxes themselves in the first place. What bothers me in this article is that President Obama could have passed this in October 2008, which makes me question why he did not. I remember when I was a senior in high school and my teacher told the class that we needed to file for FASFA early as possible because the money was on a first come-first served bases. So all in all I think that this is definitely going to be effective for current and incoming students.

    I also agree with Megan Renae Moore in the comment above where she mentions this will allow students to make corrections, changes, and updates as needed. I personally had an experience this semester where I had to make changes to my mothers income and in doing so my FASFA was put off very late. This affected the first two weeks of my school year.

    So with that being said, based on my personal experiences and that of others I know, I’m pleased that this was passed. Better late than never.

  3. bethanymtsu17
    October 29, 2015
    Reply

    Education plays a very important role in college student’s lives. FASFA plays a very important role in assisting students with financial aid to be able to receive an education beyond a high school education. I am very happy to heat that the FASFA process is being extended to a much earlier period. It will be really effective for proactive individuals in efforts to get the application done faster, because starting earlier makes a huge difference. I feel that every school financial aid office in the United States goes through the same issue… so much traffic with student applications. The earlier FASFA date will also allow much more time for corrections to be made on a student’s FASFA. I must say that each year that most college students stress about finding how to pay for school, I as well am in this situation. Many students, including myself, will look forward to the new starting date for the FASFA-October 1st instead of January 1st. I certinately believe that this will help break up the traffic of everyone trying to get their FAFSA done at once and will decrease stress in getting it done fast. Changing the date will be very beneficial to all college students.

  4. bethanymtsu17
    October 30, 2015
    Reply

    Education plays a very important role in college student’s lives. FASFA plays a very important role in assisting students with financial aid to be able to receive an education beyond a high school education. I am very happy to hear that the FASFA process is being extended to a much earlier period. It will be really effective for students in efforts to get the application done faster, because starting earlier, in my opinion, makes a huge difference. I feel that every school financial aid office in the United States goes through the same issue… so much traffic with student applications. The earlier FASFA date will also allow much more time for corrections to be made on a student’s FASFA. I must say that each year that most college students stress about finding how to pay for school, I as well am in this situation. Many students, including myself, will look forward to the new starting date for the FASFA-October 1st instead of January 1st. I certinately believe that this will help break up the traffic of everyone trying to get their FAFSA done at once and will decrease stress in getting it done fast. Changing the date will be very beneficial to all college students.

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