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    2017-18 FAFSA available Oct. 1

    The 2017–18 FAFSA will launch three months early—on October 1, 2016 instead of January 1, 2017.

    IF YOU PLAN TO ATTEND COLLEGE BETWEEN JULY 1, 2017 AND JUNE 30, 2018, COMPLETE THE 2017–18 FAFSA AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AFTER OCTOBER 1.
    Why? Because some states and schools run out of financial aid early and some types of financial aid are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Completing the FAFSA early will hold your place in line.

    IT WILL BE EASIER TO COMPLETE THE FAFSA EARLY THIS YEAR!
    From now on, the FAFSA will ask for older income and tax information that you will already have. This change means you won’t have to use estimates anymore, or log in later to update your FAFSA after you file taxes!
    ...
    Also, you’ll already have done your 2015 taxes by the time you fill out your 2017–18 FAFSA, you may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) to automatically import your tax information into your FAFSA.

    And because, having the FAFSA available three months earlier will give you more time to meet most deadlines (although some will be early, so fill out the FAFSA right away just in case) and to explore and understand your financial aid options.

    BUT WHAT IF MY FAMILY'S FINANCIAL SITUATION HAS CHANGED SINCE OUR 2015 TAXES WERE FILED? CAN WE REPORT 2016 TAX INFORMATION INSTEAD?
    No. You must report your 2015 tax info on the 2017–18 FAFSA. You do not have the option to report your 2016 tax info. If your family has experienced a loss of income since the 2015 tax year, talk to the financial aid office at your school. They have the ability to assess your situation and make adjustments.

    Note: The FAFSA asks for marital status as of the day you fill it out. So if you’re married now but weren’t in 2015 (and therefore didn’t file taxes as married), you’ll need to add your spouse’s income to your FAFSA.

    Similarly, if you filed your 2015 taxes as married but you’re no longer married when you fill out the FAFSA, you’ll need to subtract your spouse’s income.

    CAN I FILL OUT THE FAFSA BEFORE I APPLY TO COLLEGES? WHAT IF I DON'T KNOW WHERE I'M APPLYING YET?
    Yes, you can fill out the FAFSA even before you've submitted your college applications. Add every school you're considering to your FAFSA, even if you haven't applied or been accepted yet. Even if you're on the fence about applying to a particular school, add it. It will hold your place in line for financial aid in case you end up applying for admission at that school. You can always remove schools later if you decide not to apply (but you don't have to).

    WILL FAFSA DEADLINES BE EARLIER SINCE THE APPLICATION IS LAUNCHING EARLIER?
    We expect that most state and school deadlines will remain approximately the same as in 2016–17. However, several states that offer first come, first served financial aid will change their deadlines from “as soon as possible after January 1” to “as soon as possible after October 1.” So, as always, it’s important that you check your state and school deadlines so that you don’t miss out on any aid. State deadlines are on fafsa.gov; school deadlines are on schools’ websites.

    For more information on the FAFSA changes, visit StudentAid.ed.gov/fafsa-changes

    For more information on how to complete your FAFSA, visit StudentAid.gov/fafsa/filling-out