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Early FAFSA Guidance – Be Prepared

Melissa Maichle Federal Student Aid Programs, Financial Aid Industry News

On September 14, 2015, President Obama announced major changes impacting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process for award year 2017-2018. These changes include early filing access and the use of prior-prior year data (use of 2015 income information instead of 2016 which will begin on 10/1/16).

In an effort to prepare financial aid administrators, the Office of Federal Student Aid has begun issuing what they

Early FAFSAanticipate will be a number of Electronic Announcements as the Early FAFSA initiative is developed and implemented. Additionally, FSA has also created an informational page on IFAP dedicated to Early FAFSA.

This page will house all training, webinars, Electronic Announcements, Dear Colleague Letters and Federal Registers as they become available. These resources will certainly prove to be a valuable tool when preparing your institution for Early FAFSA.

Early FAFSA Electronic Announcement #4 – Determining FAFSA Prior-Prior Items, released on March 18th, 2016

Early FAFSA Electronic Announcement #3 – Availability of the 2017-2018 Early FAFSA Information Page on the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) website, released on March 11th, 2016

Early FAFSA Electronic Announcement #2 – Preparing for 2017-2018 Early FAFSA and Prior-Prior Year, released on February 18th, 2016

Early FAFSA Electronic Announcement #1 – President’s Announcement of FAFSA Filing Changes, released September 14th, 2015

GEN-16-03 -Use of Professional Judgment When Prior-Prior Year Income is Used to Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), released on February 11th, 2016.  We also released our own article regarding the processes to be used for PJ’s in the 2017-18 award year.

HEAG plans to keep you up-to-date on all of changes and timelines coming so our office can be better prepared to handle the shifts in workloads, as they will be occurring roughly three months earlier than they once did.  This information can and should also be shared with other departments such as Admissions and the Registrar.  These federal changes are a huge shift for how internal offices operate and the expected response times back to your study body based on these new dates.