#CampusChat Q & A: FAFSA Changes and Tips from Sallie Mae

fafsa changesSallie Mae was our guest on this week’s #CampusChat. During the chat, Sallie Mae discussed the new FAFSA changes and gave some excellent tips for parents and students. If you missed the chat, following is the Q&A.

For the entire chat transcript, click here.


Q1 What are the major changes to the FAFSA for the 2017–18 school year? #CampusChat

A1 The FAFSA will be available earlier: Oct. 1 of the previous year instead of Jan. 1 of the

upcoming school year.#CampusChat

A1 The FAFSA will collect income information from an earlier tax year. #CampusChat

A1 This means families will have earlier access to the FAFSA & most won’t have to rely on estimates.#CampusChat


Q2 How will an earlier FAFSA and the change to the income year benefit students? #CampusChat

A2 The financial aid application process will be more aligned with the college application process. #CampusChat

A2 There’ll be more time for students to explore financial aid options & apply for aid before state and school deadlines. #CampusChat

A2 Students should contact their schools to determine whether they will adjust their financial aid processing timelines. #CampusChat


Q3 What’s the first step in completing the FAFSA? #CampusChat

A3 Gather all info first. That includes your SSN, driver’s license, 2015 tax returns (or estimates), W-2s & bank statements. #CampusChat

A3 If you are a dependent student, then you will also need most of the above information for your parent(s). #CampusChat


Q4 When should students and parents complete their FAFSA for the upcoming AY year? #CampusChat

A4 Race to file your FAFSA on January 1 so you don’t miss out on aid that’s awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. #CampusChat

A4 Deadlines vary by state; find yours at FAFSA.gov. And don’t forget to complete a FAFSA every year you’re in college. #CampusChat

A4 Keep in mind for the 2017-2018 AY, you’ll be able to submit your FAFSA as early as Oct. 1,2016: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/about/announcements/fafsa-changes #CampusChat


Q5 Do you have any tips and resources to help make the FAFSA process easier? #CampusChat

A5 File Early. Some schools & states aid money on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are depleted. #CampusChat

A5 For ease, file online. When you submit the FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov, it will be processed within 3-5 days. #CampusChat

A5 Be sure to fill out the form completely. Mistakes on the FAFSA can delay the processing of your application. #CampusChat

A5 Don’t let income tax filings slow you down. Families can use their 2014 taxes to get started & then update the form later. #CampusChat

A5 Time is money. The time it takes for you to complete the FAFSA could translate into money to help you pay for college! #CampusChat


Q6 What happens after I fill out the FAFSA?  #CampusChat

A6 Once your FAFSA is processed, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR).#CampusChat

A6 It’s important to make sure that everything on your FAFSA is correct, as your school may ask you to verify some of the info. #CampusChat


Q7 Let’s define some important terms. What is a SAR?  What is EFC? #CampusChat

A7 Your SAR is a summary of the info you submitted in your FAFSA & indicates your Expected Family Contribution(EFC).#CampusChat

A7 EFC is a number used by your school to calculate how much financial aid you are eligible to receive.  #CampusChat

A7 @CollegeBoard has an EFC calculator to help you estimate college costs: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/paying-your-share/expected-family-contribution-calculator #CampusChat


Q8 What is an FSA ID? #CampusChat

A8 The FSA ID is a username & password that allows you to check your status & e-sign documents at fafsa.gov. #CampusChat

A8 If you’re a parent of a dependent student, you’ll need your own FSA ID to electronically sign your child’s FAFSA. #CampusChat


Q9 What’s a common FAFSA myth? #CampusChat

A9 Common Myths about Financial Aid via @usedgov: http://blog.ed.gov/2015/01/7-myths-about-the-fafsa-and-applying-for-financial-aid-2/  #CampusChat

A9 Myth: My family makes too much money for me to qualify for aid. #CampusChat

A9 Nearly every student is eligible for some form of financial assistance, regardless of financial circumstances.#CampusChat


Q10 How can parents and students avoid FAFSA scams?#CampusChat

A10 Submitting the FAFSA is absolutely FREE! Avoid websites that charge you to file your FAFSA or ask for any payment info. #CampusChat (134)


Q11 Do I have to apply for the FAFSA every year? #CampusChat

A11 Yes. Filing the FAFSA is an annual process. Complete it every year you’re in college. #CampusChat

Author: Suzanne Shaffer

Suzanne Shaffer advises parents and students in the college admissions process and the importance of early college preparation at ParentsCountdowntoCollegeCoach.com. She is excited to share her knowledge with the readers of Smart College Visit.

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