Important New Financial Aid Date: October 1, 2016

Picture of October 1st on a Calendar

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for next school year (2017-2018) will be available in less than a month, on October 1st.  Normally, the application would not be available until January 1, 2017.  It is important that anyone seeking financial aid for next school year fill out the FAFSA early, especially because the Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) Grant program uses the initial application date to determine student eligibility for MAP funding.  It is recommended you file in October or early November.  Read the full announcement from the JALC Financial Aid Office posted below.

The FAFSA application will be available on October 1st at the FAFSA website: http://fafsa.ed.gov.

Here is the announcement from the JALC Financial Aid Office:

High school seniors and college students heading back to school should circle one date on their calendars: Oct. 1. That’s the day the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2017-18 school year comes out. It’s three months earlier than in the past, part of an effort by the Obama Administration to simplify the complicated aid process.

The FAFSA used to debut Jan. 1 each year, after many students had already applied to college. Now students will have more time to fill out the form. They will also be able to find out earlier how much help they can expect from the government.

Students who fill out the FAFSA in October or early November would have that information with them as they’re deciding where to apply to college.

Another big change: In the past, students had to enter tax information from the most recent year, before many families had even filed their taxes. Now they can use data from one year earlier and import it directly from the IRS.

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On October 1, 2016 students will be able to submit the FAFSA and download their 2015 tax information into the application.  The FAFSA application is used to determine qualification for all state and federal grant funds available to applicants.

The Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) Grant uses the initial application date of the FAFSA to determine student eligibility.  It is IMPORTANT for all students completing the FAFSA to submit their FAFSA early.  The months of October and November are recommended for all students to submit the FAFSA because of the (potential) lack of funds allocated for the MAP Grant by the state legislature for the 2017/2018 academic year.

It is recommended students download their tax information directly from the IRS to prevent any conflicting information between the 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 FAFSA submissions. (The same tax information will be used for both years).  An IRS tax transcript is acceptable for verification purposes if students are unable to download the IRS tax information into the FAFSA application.

Rick W. Burkett runs the John A. Logan College Teaching and Learning Center, teaches history, heads runs an educational nonprofit. He publishes blogs on a wide variety of topics, including history, teaching and learning, student success, and teaching online.

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