By: Mary-Ellen Davis, Staff Writer
Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, processes have changed this year in order to make the online interface more user-friendly and easier to fill out.
Students could begin filling out and submitting FAFSA applications as of Oct. 1, instead of the usual Jan. 1 start date.
The earlier submission date is a permanent change, enabling students to complete and submit a FAFSA that early every year, according to the FAFSA website.
Instead of using the previous year’s tax information, students will be required to submit tax information from two years prior. For example, for the FAFSA filled out for the 2017-2018 school year, students will need to provide income and tax information from 2015, not 2016.
The federal deadline will not change with the start date and will remain the same.
Students who plan to fill out a Renewal FAFSA should make sure they have their 2015 tax information ready, because while some general information will transfer from a previous FAFSA, income information will not.
It is recommended that students fill out the FAFSA every year, even if they do not believe that they will qualify for aid.
FAFSA reports not only allow students to receive Pell Grants, money typically awarded to undergraduate students that does not have to be repaid, but are also required in order for students to fill out applications for federal student loans.