October 4, 2016
By Rich Bodee
The process of filing FAFSA will change beginning with the 2017-2018 academic year.
To be clear, this will not have any effect on this year’s FAFSA process. The new program will be implemented for the following year; however, there are a variety of changes and it is important that students and their parents understand how the new system will work.
According to Director of Financial Aid Victoria Spivak there are two major changes: earlier filing and earlier income and tax information.
Under the new process, FAFSA will now be available Oct. 1 rather than Jan. 1. In addition, the new FAFSA process will use what is called “prior prior year.” This means that you can now use income information from two years prior to complete the forms. So for next year’s FAFSA, you can use information from 2015. This means that you will no longer need to estimate your information and then update it later.
“With the new filing process, since taxes have already been completed, students and their parents can use the IRS Retrieval Tool to directly import their information from the IRS into the FAFSA,” Spivak said. “Plus, with the earlier availability of the forms, financial aid offices can send aid awards to prospective students sooner, which will give prospective students more time to make their college decisions.”
Rest assured that MAP will not be affected by these changes and neither will the deadline to submit your FAFSA forms. The deadline is, as it always has been, June 30. The MAP process continues to work on a first come first serve basis. That means that when the FAFSA forms become available in October, the first individuals to submit their FAFSA information will be guaranteed MAP (so long as the state of Illinois provides those funds).
For any additional questions on the new FAFSA process, visit the office of financial aid in Lewis 120.