FAFSA: Forthcoming Adjustments Facilitate Student Advantages

FAFSA: Forthcoming Adjustments Facilitate Student Advantages

Student loan application

With the first day of Fall behind us, the back-to-school hype has dwindled and students are settling into a new year of classes. For high school seniors and their parents, however, a new hype is upon them: the college application process. A checklist from The College Board offers forty-seven different steps as part the college application process, five of which are related to financial aid. Beginning October 1st, the U.S Department of Education will implement changes to the FAFSA process to help align the financial aid process more closely with the admission process.

Beginning with the upcoming 2017-2018 school year, students can apply for FAFSA as early as October 1st. Previously, the application process opened on January 1st. The final deadline for filing FAFSA will still be June 30th. While each state and school is different, filing early is suggested as some programs provide aid on a first come, first served basis and others determine eligibility for financial aid earlier than federal deadlines. Information on federal and state deadlines can be found on the Federal Student Aid website. The change was made, in part, to allow students more time to explore and understand their financial aid options and make thoughtful decisions in investing in their education.

Another major change beginning with the upcoming school year will be reporting tax information from an earlier year rather than from an upcoming year. In the past, students and parents have been required to submit tax estimates to complete the FAFSA application and re-submit the final tax numbers once their return has been filed. Moving forward, you will use already completed information to eliminate the need to re-submit tax numbers. For example, for the 2017-2018 school year, tax information from 2015 will be required. Below is a table from the U.S. Department of Education’s Home Room blog to illustrate the change.

School Year

FAFSA Filing Period

Income Tax Year Information

July 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016

January 1, 2015 – June 30, 2016


July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017

January 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017


July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018 October 1, 2016 – June 30, 2018


July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019

October 1, 2017 – June 30, 2019



Additional information regarding these changes can be found on the U.S. Department of Education’s Home Room blog.