Do you know about EARLY FAFSA?
There have been some big changes to the FAFSA for the 2017-2018 school year!
What’s changing for 2017-2018?
You’ll be able to submit your FAFSA earlier!
You can file your 2017-18 FAFSA as early as October 1, 2016, rather than beginning on Jan. 1, 2017. The earlier submission date will be a permanent change, enabling you to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as October 1 every year.
You’ll use earlier income tax information.
Beginning with the 2017-18 FAFSA, students will be required to report income and tax information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017-18 FAFSA, you—and your parent(s), if applicable—will report your 2015 income and tax information, rather than your 2016 income and tax information.
Here's a summary of key dates for submitting the FAFSA depending on when you plan to go to school:
July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016||
January 1, 2015-June 30, 2016||
July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017||
January 1, 2016-June 30, 2017||
July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018||
October 1, 2016-June 30, 2018||
July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019||
October 1, 2017-June 30, 2019||
How will these changes benefit me?
We expect that you’ll benefit in these ways:
Because the FAFSA will ask for older income and tax information, you will already have done your taxes by the time you fill out your FAFSA, and you won’t need to estimate your tax information and then go back into the FAFSA later to update it.
Because you’ll already have done your taxes by the time you fill out your FAFSA, you may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to automatically import your tax information into your FAFSA.
Because the FAFSA is available earlier, you may feel less pressure due to having more time to explore and understand
Will FAFSA deadlines be earlier since the application is launching earlier?
No; UHD’s priority deadline to file the FAFSA will remain April 1 for the following fall semester. For example, the priority deadline at UHD will be April 1, 2017 for classes beginning fall 2017.
Since the 2017-18 FAFSA asks for the same tax and income information as the 2016-17 FAFSA, will my 2016-17 FAFSA information automatically be carried over into my 2017-18 FAFSA?
No; too much could have changed since you filed your last FAFSA, and there’s no way to predict what might be different, so you’ll need to enter the information again. However, keep in mind that many people are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically import their tax information into the FAFSA, making the process of reporting tax information quick and easy.
Can I choose to report 2016 information if my family’s financial situation has changed since our 2015 taxes were filed?
No; you must report the information the FAFSA asks for. If your family’s income has changed substantially since the 2015 tax year, talk to the financial aid office at UHD about the family’s situation.
Note: The FAFSA asks for marital status as of the day you fill it out. So if you’re married now but weren’t in 2015 (and therefore didn’t file taxes as married), you’ll need to add your spouse’s income to your FAFSA. Similarly, if you filed your 2015 taxes as married but you’re no longer married when you fill out the FAFSA, you’ll need to subtract your spouse’s income.
Will I receive aid offers earlier if I apply earlier?
Not necessarily; there are a lot of different factors that are taken into consideration when setting up financial aid awards, and it may not be possible for UHD to offer award packages much earlier than in previous years.
Note: You should be aware that the maximum Federal Pell Grant for 2017–18 won’t be known until early 2017, so keep in mind that even if you do receive an aid offer early, it could change due to various factors.
Where can I get more information about—and help with—the FAFSA?
; and remember, as you fill out your FAFSA at
, you can refer to help text for every question and (during certain times of day) chat online with a customer service representative. You can also visit the financial aid office at UHD in S330 for assistance. UHD will also be hosting fairs and workshops throughout the fall and spring semesters. Check your Gatormail account regularly for event information.