The Free Application for Federal Student Aid will have changes for the 2017-2018 academic school year, including the application being available in October rather than January and applicants having the ability to use two-year-old completed tax returns.
Assistant Vice President for Student Financial Aid Lyn Kinyon said the FASFA changes will be affective for any students applying for the 2017- 2018 school year.
“It will affect anybody who’s applying for anything other than just academic scholarships,” Kinyon said.
The Obama administration announced these changes in September. In less than 24 hours dozens of universities, including the University of California system, UTSA and Loyola University of Maryland, committed to using the prior-prior data according to an article from Inside Higher Education.
Kinyon said the new FASFA changes will affect the whole financial aid process.
“It will allow students to apply for financial aid earlier in the year,” Kinyon said. “By using prior, prior year they don’t have to wait to file their income tax return because the prior, prior year income tax return should already be completed even if they did an extension.”
Kinyon said there is going to be a lot that goes into the process of making the FASFA changes.
“The feds are going to have to let us know earlier what we have available to spend for that particular year,” Kinyon said. “There are a lot of different moving parts that are going to affect how were able to go ahead and start processing earlier.”
The calculation of financial aid, called federal methodology, will still be the same, but will now take prior year income within that calculation.
The financial aid office is waiting to hear if the government is going to make additional regulations or if the office is going to see an increase in special circumstances.
Over the years, the financial aid office has seen specific circumstances, like divorce, that can affect federal aid statues, Kinyon said.
“Those do trickle in, but I have a feeling they’re going to do more than just trickle in when this happens, its probably going to do more of a streaming in,” Kinyon said.
Once these changes go into affect Kinyon said one nice thing students can use with the new FAFSA changes will be having the option of pulling information from the IRS. She added that using that option makes them less likely to be chosen for verification.
“That will help hopefully with the verification,” Kinyon said.
Kinyon said these new changes will be helpful for any parents who want to help their students complete the FAFSA application by having the information already available.
“Having it prior prior year should make the application process easier which would then help parents help their students more,” Kinyon said.
Anna junior Morgan Rasberry said having these FASFA changes will help students who are applying for financial aid.
“I think using the old tax return would help a lot more, and using it earlier would help getting the process more in place,” Rasberry said.
Rasberry said she is currently trying to get her financial aid applied to her tuition and is having to send in documentation.
“They keep sending different documents that we need to do and it’s not working so maybe it will make [the financial aid process] faster,” Rasberry said. “Just better progression and actually getting your stuff done so it counts.”