New this year, the federal government is opening the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) application process three months earlier than previous FAFSA application cycles.
Beginning Oct. 1, students will be able to fill out the FAFSA for the 2017-18 school year. Previously, applications were not available until Jan. 1. The earlier date will allow families to complete the application closer to the time the college application process begins instead of waiting for tax season.
The reporting of tax information and income is also new this year. For the 2017-2018 FAFSA, students and parents must report their 2015 income and tax information rather than their 2016 income and tax information. The federal government expects the change will make it easier to complete the application because applicants will no longer need to estimate income and tax information and will be able to retrieve their data directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) when the FAFSA is available Oct. 1. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool will automatically import an applicant’s tax information into the FAFSA.
For resources specific to the 2017-2018 FAFSA, including a tool kit, educators and parents can visit the 2017-18 FAFSA Page