Changes to FAFSA Mean Benefits for Students

College & Career Readiness | 10/03/2016

Shannon Speshock
National Marketing & Communications Coordinator

Shannon creates engaging content to inspire others to take a stand on equity and quality education in the U.S.

According to this recent study, the likelihood that high school seniors from low- to middle-income backgrounds will attend college increased by 30 percent when they completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Don’t leave money on the table! If you’re planning to attend college during the 2017-2018 school year, fill out the FAFSA to make sure you’ve accessed all the financial aid resources available to you.

The U.S. Department of Education announced earlier this year that two major changes were made to the FAFSA. These adjustments will benefit current and incoming college students applying for financial aid during the 2017-2018 school year and onward.

What you need to know about the FAFSA:

The FAFSA is a form that can be submitted annually and it determines a student’s eligibility for financial aid. Completing the FAFSA is completely free and gives students access to Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, and Federal Work-Study Programs. Having access to these financial aid resources can help make college affordable and attainable for students from all backgrounds.  

This year’s changes:

Submit your FAFSA earlier – You can file your 2017-2018 FAFSA as early as Oct. 1, 2016, rather than the beginning of January, which used to be the submission date. Early filing gives you more time to understand your financial aid package and explore your college options before any state or school deadlines.

Use earlier income tax info – When filing your FAFSA this year, you’ll be required to report your income tax information from the previous year (2015), instead of estimating what you think it will be for 2016 and going back to update it later. Since you’ll be reporting information from taxes you’ve already filed, you’ll be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically import your tax info into the FAFSA form.

(U.S. Department of Education)

At Stand for Children, we’re fighting to ensure that all children, regardless of their background graduate high school prepared for, and with access to, college and career training, and informing people about the important changes made to the FAFSA is just one of the ways we’re doing it.

Check out this story about Stand for Children Oklahoma partnering up to encourage and support high school seniors and their families as they complete an important step in the college application process – filling out their FAFSA.

For more information, or to start your FAFSA form, click here.


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