If you’re completing a FAFSA for the 2017-18 school year, there are some new requirements you should be aware of. One of them is the new FAFSA release date. This form now becomes available on October 1 annually, rather than January 1. This allows you to fill out the FAFSA earlier and possibly learn your financial aid eligibility a little earlier, too.
Another change to the FAFSA allows students and families to complete this form using tax information that should already be completed, eliminating the need to update your tax information on your application once your taxes have been filed. Since the latest FAFSA, released on October 1, requires you to use your 2015 tax information, you can pull out your 2015 return and complete your application at FAFSA.gov now! The sooner you apply, the better!
If you’re unsure when to complete the FAFSA or the correct tax information to be used, check out the chart below. Good luck!
Now that you’ve submitted your FAFSA, you may be wondering when you’ll hear how much financial aid you’ll receive for college. Will you know before the end of the year or will you wait until a few months after the first? Good question! Actually the schools we surveyed provided very different responses to that question and that’s probably because the 2017-18 FAFSA process has changed dramatically from what it had been in prior years. Schools are adjusting their timelines and staff to make sure financial aid award notifications will be sent out as early as possible. Some colleges have already started sending award letters to their students, while others will send them anywhere from January to April.
No matter the time frame, if you’re questioning this process, contact the school(s) to which you’ve applied. They’ll let you know when they plan to send financial aid notifications and if they’ll go electronically or by snail mail. Most have deadlines attached for accepting or declining the aid you’ve been awarded so don’t miss out! Take the necessary steps to make sure you receive all the financial aid for which you’re eligible.
Any student that needs money for college expenses in 2017-18 should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) now! The FAFSA underwent a lot of changes this year, including moving the application start date from Jan. 1 to Oct. 1. Since the FAFSA is available now, students should submit the form as soon as possible to maximize opportunities for financial aid for college. Get ahead of the game and set a reminder to submit the FAFSA Oct. 1 of next year, too!
Many types of financial aid are awarded on a first come-first served basis. This includes various types of federal aid as well as some aid through the state of Oklahoma. For example, this year, the Oklahoma Tuition Aid Grant (OTAG), does not have a deadline for FAFSA completion. Instead, students are told it’s important to apply early. Typically, OTAG receives more eligible applications than can be awarded with available funds and how early a student applies can be the deciding factor in whether that student is offered an OTAG award.
The FAFSA is THE application for federal grants, college work-study and many student loan programs including:
Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant
Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant
Work Study Program:
Federal Student Loans:
Direct Subsidized Loan
Direct Unsubsidized Loan
Direct PLUS Loan
Federal Perkins Loan
So submit the FAFSA now. You may qualify for money for college!
So you’ve completed, signed and submitted the FAFSA, now what? It’s time to follow up!
Keep an eye on your email for something called a Student Aid Report (SAR) as well as information from the schools to which you chose to send your FAFSA results.
Your SAR will provide you with some basic information about your eligibility for federal student aid. When you receive your SAR carefully review it and make sure your information is listed correctly. If you find a mistake, you will need to correct and resubmit your FAFSA.
Some schools may ask for more information, so be sure to provide any additional documentation they may require. Follow up with the school’s financial aid office if you have questions.
Now that you’ve gathered materials and created an FSA ID , it’s time to complete and submit the FAFSA at FAFSA.gov.
Applying online is fast, simple and best of all… it’s safe. The online form allows you to rapidly transfer previously filed tax information and has many “helps and hints” along to way to answer any questions that may come to mind. And, you may choose to send your FAFSA results to up to 10 schools that interest you.
Be sure to enter your information exactly as it appears on your Social Security card. When finished, you will sign with your FSA ID. Don’t forget to hit “Submit” when you’ve completed the form!
The 2017-18 Free Application for Federal Student Aid is now ready for you! Remember, the first word in FAFSA stands for FREE. Never pay someone to complete the FAFSA.
If this is not your first rodeo with the FAFSA, then you may be wondering why it’s available so early. Well, we have good news for you. The FAFSA will become available Oct. 1 of each year to help you make the most of financial aid programs. Furthermore, you will now use tax information you’ve already submitted and will no longer have to update your FAFSA when your latest tax information is ready. See our chart to determine which tax forms to use with your current FAFSA.
Whether this is your first or 10th time completing the FAFSA, we offer a wide variety of information to help families along the way. Check out our resources section for more tools, publications and helpful external websites.
If you’ve completed the first of the five (fairly fast) FAFSA steps and have gathered materials needed to complete the FAFSA, then you are ready to complete step 2 and create an FSA ID.
“FSA ID” is just a fancy acronym for a username and password. To create an FSA ID, visit fsaid.ed.gov and follow the prompts onscreen. Parents of dependent students will need an FSA ID of their own for the FAFSA, too.
Once you have an FSA ID, save it somewhere safe! You will need your FSA ID to sign the FAFSA online and to access information about other financial aid programs as well.
Did you know that you can finish the FAFSA in five (fairly fast) steps? It’s true, and the 2017-18 FAFSA will be available Oct. 1! So now would be a great time to complete the first step by gathering materials. In order to complete the FAFSA, students (and in many cases their parents) will need the following information and items:
- Social Security card
- Driver’s license
- W2 forms and tax returns specified on the FAFSA
- Current bank statements
- Dependency status
Not sure about your dependency status? Our handy dependency questionnaire will help you determine your status.
Remember to keep all of information you’ve gathered in a safe place until you’re ready to complete the FAFSA. If you complete your FAFSA in a public area, keep your documents hidden and safe to prevent identity theft. Be sure to clear the browser on any public computer when you’re done to ensure no one is able to electronically access your information.
If you’re going to college next year, it’s time to start thinking about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)! Here are four reasons why:
- The FAFSA is used to apply for all types of federal financial aid and some types of state aid. It is also required for many scholarship programs, including Oklahoma’s Promise. Use gov to apply!
- Applying has never been easier. Complete the FAFSA online. Doing so is fast and efficient for you and the school(s) receiving your results.
- Help is always available. Use the Help and Hints boxes online or contact the Federal Student Aid Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243), or any nearby college or university financial aid office.
- You don’t have to wait long to get the ball rolling. The 2017-18 FAFSA becomes available Oct. 1, 2016. Submit the FAFSA as soon as possible for priority consideration for some types of financial aid.