Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) (Link to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/)

Nearly every student is eligible for some form of financial aid! That includes low-interest Federal Stafford loans, parent PLUS loans, and more. The FAFSA is used by nearly all colleges and universities to determine eligibility for federal, state, and college-sponsored financial aid, including grants, educational loans, and work-study programs.

Basically, the form determines whether or not you qualify for assistance. For example, we’ll need to know your family’s household income and other financial information. The U.S. Department of Education evaluates your form, and the results are electronically transmitted to the financial aid office of the school you list on your application.

CHANGES TO THE FAFSA: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

SUMMARY

Starting with Academic Year 2017-2018, the traditional FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) submission date of January 1 will change to October 1. In addition, families will be able to use tax information from the prior year.

The January 1 start date made it difficult for families to get their tax information gathered in time to complete the application.

By moving the start date up three months earlier to October 1, students will have more time to fill out this vital information, they’ll have tax information at hand, and families will have more time to evaluate the school’s financial aid award package.

WHAT IT MEANS

Students enrolling for academic year 2017-2018 will submit a FAFSA beginning October 1, 2016; families should again use their 2015 income tax information.

Impact: With more time to award financial aid, some schools may choose to adjust their calendar. This could mean changes to the admissions timeline as well as the timing for financial aid award letters and tuition bills. Students should check their colleges of choice to see if any dates or submission deadlines change.

General FASGA Eligibility Requirements:

  • Be a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national or an eligible non-citizen
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Have a high school diploma or GED
  • Be registered with the U.S. Selective Service (if you are a male aged 18-25)
  • Complete a FAFSA promising to use any federal aid for educational purposes
  • Do not owe refunds on any federal student grants
  • Not in default on any student loans
  • Not found guilty of the sale or possession of illegal drugs during a period in which federal aid was being received

Web Resources

FAFSA On the Web (link to https://fafsa.ed.gov/) Find information about FAFSA and submit your application here.

FinAid! (Link to http://www.finaid.org/calculators/finaidestimate.phtml) Find information about scholarships, loans, military aid and a financial aid estimator.

ACT (Link to http://www.act.org/) Find information regarding the ACT Test including deadlines and prep materials.

Fastweb! (Link http://www.fastweb.com/) Search for scholarships.

College Board (Link to https://www.collegeboard.org/)Find college planning and preparation tools.

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