The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form is the first step in obtaining financial aid for postsecondary education. For years, students and parents have rushed to file their taxes so they’d have the information needed to complete it. Then they’d wait anxiously to see what their chosen colleges had to offer. Or, they’d enter estimates and have to go back and correct them once they filed their taxes.
This year, there’s no need to rush, because the federal government has changed two key details. First, instead of waiting until January 1, you can file your FAFSA form starting this October. That means you’ll be able to receive financial aid offers from schools much earlier. Second, you’ll be able to use older tax information, instead of waiting to file the current year’s return. For example, students who will be taking classes during the 2017-2018 school year are able to use tax information from 2015, and start filing the FAFSA as early as October 1 of this year. Continue reading