Student Aid Applications Available 3 Months Early

"Starting this year, the free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be available for students and their families Saturday rather than Jan. 1, marking a significant change in the college application process," the California Democrat reports. "Nick Prewett, director of financial aid at the University of Missouri and board member of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), said this change will allow students to make more informed decisions about where to go to school and how to pay."

"He recommends students apply earlier.

'The FAFSA being available in the fall is one of the most significant changes to the college recruitment timeline that we've see in a generation,' Prewett said. 'By having the FAFSA available earlier, students will be able to complete their federal aid applications in the same time frame as their college applications. Learning about federal aid eligibility earlier will allow students and families to better understand the cost of colleges and make more informed decisions about which school is the right match for them.' ...

Prewett notes the following steps students and families need to know to help complete the FAFSA application:

Create a Federal Student Aid ID to get access to the online system.

Gather the necessary documents including: Social Security number, 2015 federal income tax returns, W-2 forms, records of untaxed income, bank statements and records of investments. To speed up the process, FAFSA uses an IRS Data Retrieval Tool that allows tax information to transfer directly from the IRS. Simply click 'link to IRS' in the financial information section of the FAFSA to transfer tax information.

List all potential colleges, even if they are only possibilities. All of the schools listed will receive FAFSA information for their financial aid use.

Complete the FAFSA as close to Oct. 1 as possible as some financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis."

NASFAA's "Headlines" section highlights media coverage of financial aid to help members stay up to date with the latest news. Inclusion in Today's News does not imply endorsement of the material or guarantee the accuracy of information presented.


Publication Date: 9/29/2016

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