Get The Most College Financial Aid - When You Should File your FAFSA - Chronos College Planning
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Get The Most College Financial Aid – When You Should File your FAFSA

The U.S. Department of Education helps college students receive about $150 billion in aid every year through grants, loans and work-study programs. The FAFSA is how you access it. Whether you believe you qualify for financial aid or not you should submit your FAFSA every year you’re in college. College freshmen missed about $2.7 billion in aid in 2014 because they didn’t submit their FAFSAs.

How much aid you get depends on a variety of factors, including how much your family is expected to contribute, which year you are in (your academic classification) and how expensive your school is, according to the department.

You need to get your paperwork in order before you complete it and you can do it online. Make sure you have your parents’ Social Security numbers, your driver’s license number, your parents’ tax forms and forms about assets. You can see a full list of required documents here. It’s recommended that you submit your FAFSA as soon as possible because aid is given out on a first-come, first-served basis.

Changes to the FAFSA® Process for 2017–18

On Sept. 14, 2015, President Obama announced significant changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) process that will impact millions of students. Starting with the 2017­–18 application cycle, the following changes will be put in place:

  • Students will be able to submit a FAFSA® earlier.  Students will be able to file a 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. (There is NO CHANGE to the 2016–17 schedule. The FAFSA became available January 1 as in previous years.),/li>
  • Students will use earlier income information. Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, students will be required to report income information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017–18 FAFSA, students (and parents, as appropriate) will report their 2015 income information, rather than their 2016 income information


The following table provides a summary of key dates as we transition to using the early FAFSA submission timeframe and earlier tax information.

If you plan to attend college from

You will submit this Fafsa

You can submit the Fafsa from

using income and tax information from

July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017


January 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017


July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018


October 1, 2016 – June 30, 2018


July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019


October 1, 2017 – June 30, 2019


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