• You might hear about some changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). But don’t worry; these changes were put in place to make the FAFSA process easier. Starting with the 2017–18 FAFSA (this is the application your child will fill out if he or she plans to go to school between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018), there will be two major changes:
     
    1. Your child will be able to submit his or her FAFSA® earlier. Students can file the 2017–18 FAFSA as early as Oct. 1, 2016, rather than beginning on Jan. 1, 2017. The earlier submission date will be a permanent change, enabling students to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as October 1 every year. If your child files the FAFSA earlier, he or she will have an earlier indication of how much your family is expected to contribute toward your child’s college costs, which will help with budgeting for the upcoming school year. Note: Because of the change in the FAFSA launch date, you’ll want to make sure that your child’s school and state deadlines have not changed, and plan accordingly. School deadlines are on the school’s website; and state deadlines are available at fafsa.gov and/or from the school’s financial aid office.
     
    2. You and your child will be required to use earlier income and tax information. Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, students will report income and tax information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017–18 FAFSA, applicants—and their parents, as appropriate—will report 2015 income and tax information, rather than 2016 income and tax information. This change will make the FAFSA easier because you will already have done your taxes by the time your child fills out the FAFSA, and you may be able to automatically import your tax information into your child’s FAFSA. (If your child files his or her own taxes, then your child may be able to import his or her tax information too.)
     
    Need more information? Here are some helpful resources: