Big changes to FAFSA

4 12 2015

Have a child going to college?  Big changes to the FAFSA were announced from the White House in September.  The changes become effective in October of 2016 and will have a big impact for families with graduates in the year 2017 and beyond.

The new method is referred to as “prior-prior-year” because student’s college financial aid eligibility will now be based off of a family’s income from two years prior to when a student enters college.  Students entering college in the 2017-2018 school year will be able to use income tax information from their parent’s 2015 tax return.  Also with the prior-prior-year method you will be able to file a FAFSA form as early as October (2016).

Currently a student’s financial aid eligibility is based off of the income tax return for the previous year, so the eligibility for school year 2015 – 2016 is based off the 2014 income tax return.  Aid can change throughout the college years with a family’s finances, but the first year of aid could be crucial in playing a part in where a student will choose to attend college.  With current deadlines for filing the FAFSA ranging from January – March, nearly 4 million students file the FAFSA before they have access to the latest tax return.

With these welcomed changes, it will help students determine the true cost of attending college much earlier in the process.  It means students will be able to apply for aid earlier and more easily, and make better informed decisions about where to apply and how to pay for college.

sm_christa

Submitted by Christa Dickson


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