Parent College Coach Tip #124: The FAFSA is Coming!


The FAFSA is coming! Starting on October 1, students can submit the FAFSA. In the past, students were forced to wait until January 1 and use income tax estimates to populate the financial data. They were then required to update the information using the data retrieval tool. The changes mean high school seniors can apply for financial aid for their 2017-18 freshman year of college and submit the FAFSA in October using tax information from their parents 2015 income tax returns.

How will these changes affect college applicants?

  • The new changes will lighten pressure on students who need financial aid to attend college. It gives them more time to explore their financial aid options with the colleges offering admission, since both the FAFSA and the application are submitted at the same time.
  • Students can then use the online IRS system to populate the FAFSA with information from the previous year’s tax return that has already been filed. This will streamline the financial aid process for families and their students.

This greatly benefits students and their families. This means that along with an offer of admission, colleges can provide a financial aid package, instead of waiting for parents to file their income tax returns for the current year. This gives students more time to compare awards, more time to appeal, and more time to make an informed decision.

It also adds pressure and added time constraints to the colleges. Along with admission applications, they will also need to evaluate financial aid. This will be especially critical for those early admissions applications that are submitted.

What can you do to prepare?

Get your FSA ID now. Gather your documents, personal and financial, and download the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet. If your student is applying to a CSS Profile college, it’s also available on October 1. You can download a worksheet after registering.



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Author: Suzanne Shaffer

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

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