The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an annual form that parents of current and prospective college students in the United States can fill out to determine eligibility for financial aid. Colleges that try to accommodate demonstrated need once students have been accepted rely on these forms to decide how much aid they will provide.
There are three very important changes in the financial aid process this year:
- For the first time, parents have the opportunity to fill out these forms much earlier! You will be able to base their information on their 2015 income instead of 2016. This means that you can start filling out the forms as soon as they are available instead of waiting until you finish this year’s tax returns in the winter of 2017.
- FAFSA forms will be up and running on October 1.
- If your child is planning to apply early (October 15 to November 15 for most schools), the FAFSA forms need to be submitted early as well. Check the schools’ websites for exact dates. The most common early deadline for admissions consideration is November 1, and many schools will require that the FAFSA forms be submitted by November 15.
- The reason for this change is to allow schools to let you know your aid package simultaneously with your acceptance. That is a tremendous advantage when deciding which application offer to accept!
Need more help? Financial Aid Coach Blaine Blontz can help you with any questions or with filling out the forms. His article, “Getting to Know the New FAFSA,” is very useful!
After perusing Blaine’s website, feel free to contact him.