LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — High school seniors can start preparing for college because the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, will be accepted for the 2017-18 school year as soon as Oct. 1.
Changes to the financial aid application process were announced by President Barack Obama last year, allowing students to get a head start on preparing for college.
The most significant change to the process was the application date. Previously, the FAFSA could be completed and submitted on Jan. 1, but that deadline was permanently moved up to Oct. 1. Officials believe the change will give students more time to understand their financial aid options and apply for aid before state and school deadlines.
However, Department of Education officials believe that states and schools will likely follow suit in changing their respective deadlines, so students were urged to still check to avoid missing out on any aid.
Students will also be able to use earlier income information on their aid applications. For example, for the 2017-18 year, students and their parents, where applicable, will report their 2015 income information, rather than their 2016 information, to allow applicants to submit finalized tax information, rather than estimates. The change will also allow students to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically import tax information.