Changes in Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Changes in Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Anyone with college students knows the importance of early tax return completion.  However, it is still sometimes stressful wondering whether all of the tax documents have been received in order to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®).  There is good news for parents and students alike because the 2017- 2018 FAFSA® has been available since October 1, 2016 instead of January 1, 2017. The earlier submission date will be a permanent change.  No more scrambling to complete your return or provide estimates of your income to complete this form.  With the 2017-2018 FAFSA®, income will be reported from the 2015 tax return.  For the 2018-2019 FAFSA®, which will be available October 1, 2017, income and tax information from 2016 will be used for reporting purposes.

This change has several benefits for both students and parents. The required information from the tax return can be imported into FAFSA® using the Internal Revenue Service's Data Retrieval Tool.  This should ease some of the pressure by allowing more time to explore and understand your financial aid options prior to the State's and school's deadlines.  Student Aid provides additional resources regarding the new deadline, including online chat capabilities with Customer Service Representatives. For more information, please visit: www.studentaid.gov/fafsa.

Article by: Tamara Mercereau, Tax Manager

Source:  Federal Student Aid, an Office of the U.S. Department of Education – April 2016

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