A quality education creates opportunities like nothing else in the world but it can be expensive. Indeed, many students need help from in the form of scholarships, loans, and need-based financial aid. For most, the first step towards affording college is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or the FAFSA. The FAFSA takes information from an applicant and his or her family’s tax returns and determines whether or not that student qualifies for government assistance. Many schools and scholarship programs use the information gathered on the FAFSA to hand out financial aid as well. It’s an important part of every family with a college student.
October 1, 2016 marked the beginning of two key changes to the FAFSA process:
- Students and their families are allowed to submit their FAFSAs earlier. As of October 1, 2016, the US Department of Education is accepting them for the 2017-2018 school year.
- Instead of using 2016’s financial information, FAFSA will now look at an applicant’s 2015 financial information for the 2017-2018 school year. If your income changes significantly between 2015 and 2016, you may have a discussion with the school you plan to attend to work around the new information.