Indiana is home to some of the best colleges and universities in the country. The financial burden of paying for a degree, however, oftentimes puts families in a tough place. Fortunately, there are various forms of financial aid to help offset costs. All students, regardless of income level, who plan to attend college need to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. In order to determine eligibility for federal financial aid, current and prospective college students must file this form every year.
This year, new changes to the FAFSA filing process provide greater flexibility for students and parents.
This year’s 2017-18 FAFSA application period opened on Oct. 1, three months earlier than previous years, while the March 10 deadline has not changed. The additional time should enable parents and guardians to ensure all of the appropriate information is correctly submitted.
The second major change aims to simplify data collection when completing the application. Under the new rules, the tax information you provide will be from your last tax filing. For example, when completing FAFSA in the coming months for academic year 2017-18, you will use information from your 2015 tax return, which is normally completed and filed with the IRS by April 2016. Previously, the most recent tax year’s information was required even though the actual tax return for that year may not have been filed yet with the IRS. Using tax information from a year earlier means many families can use the IRS’ Data Retrieval Tool, which automatically fills in the online form with the necessary tax information. This can help eliminate mistakes and delays in the process.
With the new alignment of the financial aid process and typical college admissions cycle, now is a great time to visit www.fafsa.ed.gov and fill out the federal aid application.
As you begin to financially plan for your child’s higher education, please keep these two new changes in mind. The new rules aim to eliminate the time crunch felt by many and decrease the chance of error when filling out the FAFSA. Helping students pursue their goals is something we can all work together to do and these new changes help Hoosiers do just that.
Please contact me with any questions or input at 317-232-9793 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about the work being done at the Statehouse by signing up to receive my email updates at www.in.gov/h74.
State Rep. Lloyd Arnold (R-Leavenworth) represents portions of Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford and Orange counties.
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