Story by Ty Smith, Staff Writer
Image courtesy of Ty Smith
The end of the year is coming up, and with it so is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Nobody tends to worry about that until January, but this year, the FAFSA could have been filled out since the beginning of October. There has been some changes made to the yearly ritual.
What is likely the most noticeable change is the filing date. Rather than becoming available Jan. 1, the FAFSA became available three months earlier, with students able to fill it out on Oct. 1. This change benefits schools and students alike; it provides students with more time to gather information and fill out their FAFSA, and it gives schools more time to process these applications. Most schools will have their due dates remain the same, but it is possible some schools may move them up.
Another change coming to the FAFSA is the required income information. Beginning with the 2017-18 FAFSA, students will report income information from two years before. In this case, that would include income from 2015. This is to eliminate most of the guesswork that used to come with giving this information. If your financial situation has changed drastically in the year between that income information and now, for instance, if your parents had lost their jobs, students will have to talk to their school to make accommodations.
The Financial Aid Office had some extra tips for students. The IRS data retrieval tool will be available right away, which lets students import their and their parent’s tax information directly into the FAFSA. Financial Aid highly encourages that all parents and students use this tool, because it makes the process much easier and makes errors far less likely to happen. It also eases the burden on the Financial Aid Office, because it means there’s fewer documents that may be requested from them.
Financial Aid would also like to remind students to respond to any email requests from their office as soon as possible, so that your financial aid may not be delayed. This is both good for them and students, because it means students get their money, and Financial Aid doesn’t have to keep working to contact you.
Finally, they’d like to remind you that while the FAFSA filing date has been moved up three months, the state of Michigan has not moved up their priority aid deadline, which remains March 1, 2017.
About the Writer…
Ty Smith is from a small town located in the thumb of Michigan. He loves writing, reading, music, and video games. He also believes that cats are better than dogs.