You might hear about some changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). But don’t worry; these changes were put in place to make the FAFSA process easier. Starting with the 2017–18 FAFSA, there will be two major changes:
1. You’ll be able to submit your FAFSA® earlier. You can file your 2017–18 FAFSA as early as Oct. 1, 2016, rather than beginning on Jan. 1, 2017. The earlier submission date will be a permanent change, enabling you to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as October 1 every year. If you file the FAFSA earlier, you’ll have an earlier indication of how much your family is expected to contribute, which will help with budgeting for the upcoming school year.
2. You’ll use earlier income and tax information. Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, students will be required to report income and tax information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017–18 FAFSA, you—and your parent(s), as appropriate—will report your 2015 income and tax information, rather than your 2016 income and tax information. This change will make the FAFSA easier because you’ll already have done your taxes by the time you fill out your FAFSA, and you may be able to automatically import your tax information into your FAFSA.