Plan For College

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Changes to the FAFSA for the 2017 school year; PART 1

Changes To The FAFSA For The School Year 2017–18.

There are few changes for the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid that everyone should be aware of. In this publication we will go over these changes as well as give you some insight on some of the most common questions we are asked when completing the FAFSA form.

·      The first major change is you can now complete the FAFSA earlier than in the past. For the school year 2017-18 you can complete the FAFSA as early as October 1, 2016.

·      You’ll use earlier income and tax information. The new 2017-18 FAFSA will let you use earlier tax year to complete this form. This is called prior-prior year completion. For the 2017 18 school year you will use 2015 income tax information, rather than your 2016 income and tax information.

Using 2015 income tax information could cause some problems for a few families. For example, the family could have a higher income in 2015 tax year then they have in 2016. If this is the case for you, you must complete the FAFSA with the info it asks for (2015). Then, after filing your FAFSA, contact the financial aid office at your school to explain your situation. The school has the ability to assess your situation and make adjustments to your FAFSA.

Will these changes benefit me?

According to the Federal FAFSA processing center:
·      Completing the FAFSA could be easier. The FAFSA will ask for older income and tax information that you will already have. This change means you won’t have to use estimates anymore, or log in later to update your FAFSA after you file taxes!
  • Because you’ll already have done your 2015 taxes by the time you fill out your 2017–18 FAFSA, you may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) to automatically import your tax information into your FAFSA.

  • Having the FAFSA available three months earlier will give you more time to meet most deadlines (although some will be early, so fill out the FAFSA right away just in case) and to explore and understand your financial aid options.

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