FAFSA FILERS-Big Changes For 2017-18 School Year

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the application that students must complete to apply for federal student aid which can be used to attend an eligible college or career school. Federal student aid includes Federal Pell Grants, federal student loans, and work-study opportunities.  In addition to determining eligibility for federal student aid, many states, private organizations, and colleges rely on information from the FAFSA to determine eligibility for nonfederal sources of aid.

Two major changes to the FAFSA will take effect for the 2017-18 school year. (The 2017-18 school year runs from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018.)

  1. The FAFSA will be available earlier (October 1 of the previous year instead of January 1 of the upcoming school year).
  2. The FAFSA will collect income information from an earlier tax year. Beginning with the 2017-18 FAFSA, students will report income information from two years prior, which in this case is 2015 income information—two tax years before the beginning of the school year.

Benefits to the change in FAFSA filing dates include the alignment of the financial aid application process with the college application process. Students (and their parents, if applicable) will not need to estimate income information and rush to get tax returns completed in late February or early March.

For general information on the FAFSA, you may click here for a link to the U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid website page. For more in-depth information and instructions on completing the FAFSA, click here for the U.S. Dept. of Education, Applying for Aid page.