Table of Contents Table of Contents
Previous Page  61 / 108 Next Page
Basic version Information
Show Menu
Previous Page 61 / 108 Next Page
Page Background






n September, at North High

School in Des Moines, Iowa,

the Obama administration

announced a series of changes

to the Free Application for

Federal Student Aid (or FAFSA)

filing process. The reforms are

intended to make the process

faster, more transparent and hassle-free

for the approximately 22 million people

who submit FAFSA applications each


The FAFSA is an online form that col-

lege and trade school students—both new

applicants and ongoing enrollees—must

fill out annually to see howmuch federal

financial aid they are eligible to receive.

According to the website of the Office

of Federal Student Aid, a branch of the

ShannonMizzi is the


editorial assistant. A graduate

of Royal Holloway, University

of London, she formerly served

as the


s editorial


their options more thoroughly.

The second change allows students

to use electronic tax return information

from the year before they are filing their

FAFSA form. For example, students

entering school in 2017 will be able

to use their family’s 2015 tax return

information in their October filing,

rather than having to use information for

2016, which they may not be able to get

until April 2017.

Currently, submitting in January and

correcting IRS data in March or April

means that students do not receive accu-

rate estimates of federal aid until April or

May. This makes financial planning and

deciding which school to attend based on

scholarships or school-based financial

aid very difficult. In some cases it has

discouraged financially insecure students

from accepting offers altogether.

Part of an overall effort to make col-

lege more accessible and affordable,

these changes will remove a significant

hurdle for a sizable portion of the popu-


Department of Education, “many states

and colleges use FAFSA data to determine

eligibility for state and school aid.”

The FAFSA must be filled out annu-

ally for as long as a one attends college,

and is acknowledged as a yearly struggle

by many students. New reforms aim to

change all that.

What Will Be Different?

Two major changes, which will come

into effect for the application process for

the 2017-2018 academic year, will enable

students to submit their FAFSA forms

several months earlier and use IRS tax

return data from two years prior to the

year of expected college enrollment.

With the first of these changes, stu-

dents will be able to submit the FAFSA

as early as October in the year prior to

enrollment, rather than having to wait

until January in the year of enrollment,

as they currently do. This new October

timeline aligns more closely with the

beginning of the college application pro-

cess, and will allow students to examine

FAFSA Reform:

What Does It Mean

for You?

Improvements in the FAFSA are slated for the 2017-2018 academic year.