Changes to the FAFSA Process for 2017-2018

There are some changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) put in place to make the FAFSA process easier. Starting with the 2017–18 FAFSA, there will be two major changes:

  1. You’ll be able to submit your 2017-18 FAFSA® as early as Oct. 1, 2016, rather than beginning on Jan. 1, 2017.
    The 2017-18 FAFSA is for enrollment in the academic year which begins in September 2017. The earlier submission date will be a permanent change, enabling you to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as October 1 every year. If you file the FAFSA earlier, you’ll have an earlier indication of how much your family is expected to contribute, which will help with budgeting for the upcoming school year.
    Note: Although there is a change in the FAFSA launch date, the Mount Wachusett Financial Aid priority deadline and Massachusetts state deadlines are still May 1, 2017.  We encourage all students to file well in advance of the May 1 priority deadline to ensure that the process is completed in time for Fall 2017 enrollment.
  2. You’ll use earlier income and tax information.
    Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, students will be required to report income and tax information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017–18 FAFSA, you—and your parent(s), as appropriate—will report your 2015 income and tax information, rather than your 2016 income and tax information. This change will make the FAFSA easier because you’ll already have done your taxes by the time you fill out your FAFSA, and you may be able to automatically import your tax information into your FAFSA.

First-time Filers

Did you know that you might be eligible for financial aid to help pay for college? Start the process by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). The FAFSA will be available this October 1 for students who plan to attend college for the 2017-2018 academic year which begins in September 2017.

You might have heard your friends or siblings talk about the FAFSA being available on January 1. The FAFSA is now available earlier, on October 1, to give you more time to make an informed decision about where to go to school and how to pay.

The FAFSA asks for information such as your name and Social Security number, as well as information about your financial situation. After you fill out the FAFSA, watch for offers of financial aid from colleges you’ve applied to and have listed on the FAFSA. Make sure you compare the aid offers to see which school offers the best combination of net cost and “fit” for your academic needs. Once you’re enrolled in college, your school’s financial aid office will pay out the financial aid funds.

Get ready for the FAFSA by creating an FSA ID, a username and password combination that you’ll use to sign the FAFSA and access certain websites related to your federal student aid.

Visit the StudentAid website to find out how to fill out the FAFSA and create your FSA ID, what information is needed for the FAFSA, and what happens after the FAFSA.