University News

Students and parents: Learn about newly implemented changes to the FAFSA process

October 3, 2016

If you will be a collegiate freshman to begin the 2017-18 academic year, review the changes to the FAFSA process below. It could improve your chances of receiving grants and aid.

PRIORITY ONE: Because of a change implemented this year, you can complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) beginning Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016. In past years, the FAFSA filing season has started in January. The Department of Education is changing the filing schedule to align financial aid applications with the college admissions season.

Advice from Indiana Tech’s Financial Aid Department: This schedule change, first announced in September 2015, can help high school seniors make better decisions on where they’d like to attend college based on the financial aid offers they receive from schools. It’s possible some awards letters could arrive a little earlier in the decision-making process. We urge you to take advantage of this new Oct. 1 filing schedule as some financial aid is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. If you wait too long, you could miss out.

ANOTHER BIG CHANGE: To complete FAFSAs moving forward, you will need to use your federal tax return data from two years before the academic year you are filing for. You may hear it referred to as the “prior-prior” year. Simply put: To complete a FAFSA for the 2017-18 academic year, you will use your 2015 federal tax return. If you are completing a FAFSA for the 2018-19 academic year, you will use your 2016 federal tax return.

Advice from Indiana Tech’s Financial Aid Department: When completing your FAFSA, make use of the Internal Revenue Service’s Data Retrieval Tool. When your tax information is filed with the IRS, this tool will automatically fill in your FAFSA with the appropriate information.

PREPARE TO COMPLETE YOUR FAFSA: By filing close to October, high school seniors would know earlier about their expected family contributions, as well, which should be useful as they weigh options to figure out where they can afford to go to school.

Advice from Indiana Tech’s Financial Aid Department:

  • Start setting aside documents that you’d need to use to file the FAFSA. For instance, if you need to complete a FAFSA for the 2017-18 academic year, pull your 2015 federal tax returns, 1099s and current bank and brokerage statements. Other important records include the student’s driver’s license, the student and parent’s Social Security cards and records relating to child support paid or. Learn more here: studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out#documents.
  • Get a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID at fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm. If you’re having trouble with a FSA ID, you can call 800.557.7394.

YOU SHOULD NEVER PAY TO COMPLETE A FAFSA: This is a free process provided by the Department of Education at FAFSA.gov.

Advice from Indiana Tech’s Financial Aid Department: If you have questions about completing your FAFSA, use FAFSA.gov resources to get answers or get free help from Indiana Tech’s Financial Aid Department.

 

If you will be returning to college to begin the 2017-18 academic year, review the changes to the FAFSA process below. It could improve your chances of receiving grants and aid.

PRIORITY ONE: Because of a change implemented this year, you can complete your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) beginning Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016. In past years, the FAFSA filing season has started in January. The Department of Education is changing the filing schedule to align financial aid applications with the college admissions season.

Advice from Indiana Tech’s Financial Aid Department: This schedule change, first announced in September 2015, can help students make better decisions on where they’d like to attend college based on the financial aid offers they receive from schools. We urge you to take advantage of this new Oct. 1 filing schedule as some financial aid is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. If you wait too long, you could miss out.

ANOTHER BIG CHANGE: To complete FAFSAs moving forward, you will need to use your federal tax return data from two years before the academic year you are filing for. You may hear it referred to as the “prior-prior” year. Simply put: To complete a FAFSA for the 2017-18 academic year, you will use your 2015 federal tax return. If you are completing a FAFSA for the 2018-19 academic year, you will use your 2016 federal tax return.

Advice from Indiana Tech’s Financial Aid Department: When completing your FAFSA, make use of the Internal Revenue Service’s Data Retrieval Tool. When your tax information is filed with the IRS, this tool will automatically fill in your FAFSA with the appropriate information.

REGARDING THIS 2016-17 ACADEMIC YEAR: If you used any estimated federal tax data to complete a FAFSA for the 2016-17 academic year, now is the time to update your FAFSA information with accurate data. The good news during this transitional year? The data you use for the 2016-17 academic year is the same data you will use for your 2017-18 FAFSA, so you are, essentially, killing two birds with one stone.

Advice from Indiana Tech’s Financial Aid Department: Make sure your data is accurate. It could eliminate potential snags moving forward.

PREPARE TO COMPLETE YOUR FAFSA: By filing close to October, students would know earlier about their expected family contributions.

Advice from Indiana Tech’s Financial Aid Department:

  • Start setting aside documents that you’d need to use to file the FAFSA. For instance, if you need to complete a FAFSA for the 2017-18 academic year, pull your 2015 federal tax returns, 1099s and current bank and brokerage statements. Other important records include the student’s driver’s license, the student and parent’s Social Security cards, records relating to child support paid or received and taxable earnings from federal work-study. Learn more here: studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out#documents.
  • Get a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID at fsaid.ed.gov/npas/index.htm. If you’re having trouble with a FSA ID, you can call 800.557.7394.

YOU SHOULD NEVER PAY TO COMPLETE A FAFSA: This is a free process provided by the Department of Education at FAFSA.gov.

Advice from Indiana Tech’s Financial Aid Department: If you have questions about completing your FAFSA, use FAFSA.gov resources to get answers or get free help from Indiana Tech’s Financial Aid Department.