The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the government form that is required of all students attending college who wish to be eligible for receiving need-based financial aid. This aid comes in the form of federal grants and loans, state and school scholarships and college work-study programs.


There have been several changes made to the application and the process for the 2016-2017 school year. It is important that students become aware of the following changes to ensure that they are giving themselves the best chances of receiving the most aid.


-The submission date has been moved up from January 1 to October 1. This is not a new deadline, but it does mean that students can get their applications completed and turned in earlier for the awards that are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.


-When completing the FAFSA, it is required for individuals to include their tax information. This year, the form will accept tax returns from the year prior to that of the application date. This means that, because the application stores the tax information for two years, it does not need to be updated when submitting the FAFSA for the following year. This streamlines the process and makes it a bit easier on applicants.


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