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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