Welcome back -- from Dug
Welcome back to a brand new and exciting year here at ASU’s College Public Service and Community Solutions. I am confident that you and I will have a very productive year and you will be fully equipped to navigate your way through a successful term. Within academic services we are pumped and excited about the array of services and programming the college has planned for you.
You may have noticed a little animated version of myself making his way around campus. Consider him your very own very own version of Jiminy Cricket, but with a more academic mode of thinking. “Dug” will be your academic compass throughout the year in a Seeking Solutions informational resources extravaganza. You have enough to juggle about, allow us to assist in reminding you of important events, dates, and other academic affairs on our “Public Service Announcement” boards, both physical and on social media.
This fall you will have events that can help you save a lot of money by finding money to pay for school. Get firsthand information and tips on how to find aid in our roundtable discussion panels with local scholarship specialists, financial aid representatives, students successful and finding scholarships, and more. Tips, tricks and knowledge are just a few things we wish to pass along to you.
FAFSA is also changing things up. Here is some good information directly from the Department of Education.
Changes Impacting the 2017–18 FAFSA
What is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and how is it changing?
The FAFSA is the application that students must complete to apply for federal student aid, which can be used to attend an eligible college or career school. Federal student aid includes Federal Pell Grants, federal student loans, and work-study opportunities. In addition to determining eligibility for federal student aid, many states, private organizations, colleges, and career schools rely on information from the FAFSA to determine eligibility for nonfederal sources of aid.
Two major changes to the FAFSA will take effect for the 2017–18 school year. (The 2017–18 school year runs from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018.)
1. The FAFSA will be available earlier (October 1 of the previous year instead of January 1 of the upcoming school year).
2. The FAFSA will collect income information from an earlier tax year.
Here’s a table with a summary of the changes. You’ll find details below the table.
When a Student Is Attending College (School Year)
When a Student Can Submit a FAFSA
Which Year’s Income Information Is Required
July 1, 2015–June 30, 2016
January 1, 2015–June 30, 2016
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
1. The FAFSA will be available earlier.
Currently, students cannot complete a FAFSA for the upcoming school year until January 1. For example, for the 2016–17 school year, an applicant cannot complete a FAFSA until Jan. 1, 2016. Beginning with the 2017–18 school year, applicants will be able to complete a FAFSA as early as October 1 of the previous year. (See table.)
2. The FAFSA will require information from an earlier tax year.
The second major change also begins with the 2017–18 FAFSA cycle. Currently, in addition to other information, FAFSA applicants (and their parents, if applicable) must report the prior year’s income information. For example, for the 2016–17 school year, applicants must report income information for 2015—the tax year before the beginning of the school year. Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, students will report income information from two years prior, which in this case is 2015 income information—two tax years before the beginning of the school year. (See table.)
How will an earlier FAFSA and the change to the income year benefit students?
Benefits include the following:
• Alignment. The financial aid application process will be more aligned with the college application process.
• Certainty. Students (and their parents, if applicable) will not need to estimate income information.
• Less pressure. There will be more time for students to explore and understand financial aid options and apply for aid before state and school deadlines.
Do students still have to complete the FAFSA every year?
Yes. Because eligibility for federal student aid does not carry over from one school year to the next, students will need to fill out the FAFSA for each school year in which they plan to be a student. Eligibility for financial aid can differ from year to year for various reasons, including a student’s or family’s financial situation and the number of family members enrolled in college.
Do families need to complete their taxes before they fill out the FAFSA?
No. If students (and their parents, if applicable) are required to file taxes, they do not have to complete their taxes before they fill out the FAFSA. Considering that many state and college FAFSA deadlines fall before the April 15 tax deadline, applicants have been allowed to provide estimated income information. Example: The 2016–17 FAFSA will ask for 2015 income information. If applicants estimate income, they will need to log back in to the FAFSA once their 2015 taxes are complete and correct any information that needs to be corrected.
Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, students will report income information from two years prior, which in this case is 2015 income information. Considering that the 2015 tax filing deadline is April 15, 2016, and the 2017–18 FAFSA will become available on Oct. 1, 2016, applicants are very likely to have completed their taxes before October 1, and the tax information would be available to be reported on the FAFSA.
How does information transfer from the IRS to the FAFSA?
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) allows applicants (and their parents, if applicable) to access the IRS tax return information needed to complete the FAFSA, and transfer the required information directly into the FAFSA from the IRS. The FAFSA includes a link to the IRS if an applicant is eligible to use the IRS DRT.
Can a student still be selected for verification if he or she is using 2015 income information on his or her 2017–18 FAFSA?
Yes. A student can be selected for verification by either the U.S. Department of Education or by the student’s school. Verification is a process by which a student is required to submit documentation that the data reported on the student’s FAFSA is accurate. The financial aid administrator at a student’s college may make corrections or updates to the student’s FAFSA based on the documentation provided as part of the verification process.
(source) U.S. Department of Education; September 2015
If that was a lot of information to soak up, don’t worry I have you covered. Making appointments is easier than ever. Visit https://calendly.com/student-support and make an appointment that is right for you. Stay in touch with the latest news, information, scholarship information, and tips by following me on twitter @ASUDug. If all else fails, send me an email with your questions. There is no problem that we can’t take on together. Public service is what I do, who I am, and what I love.
Douglas Capitan, Student Financial Resource Coordinator
College of Public Service and Community Solutions
I have a number of new and improved ways of getting information out to you so that you stay informed, stay engaged, and ultimately stay cool.