There are a few changes you need to know about this year, when it comes to filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA. The changes are ones parents and students will most likely welcome, in that they use well-established tax information and are designed to better align financial aid awards to the full application cycle. Still, changes can create anxiety, but Shenandoah University’s Director of Financial Aid Karen Hart Bucher, Ph.D., is here to answer your questions about the FAFSA changes and what they really mean.
The tax information needed for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid [FAFSA] has changed. What information must a student/student’s family use now?
For the first year ever, students will be using the “prior prior year’s” tax information. Students completing the FAFSA for 17/18 will be using their 2015 taxes.
Why was this change made?
By using earlier tax income data, more families will have completed their taxes by the time they are ready to apply for aid. This will make it easier for families to complete the FAFSA with accurate information, and will increase the likelihood that families will be able to transfer their tax information from the IRS directly into their FAFSA using the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). This makes it less likely that their college will have to ask for a ton of additional followup information from them.