There have been several changes made to the FAFSA this year and you should definitely be aware of them. The two biggest things to know are:
1.) The FAFSA Pin is out and the FSA ID is in.
2.) That the 2017-2018 application will be open October 2016, instead of January 2017.
The FAFSA has several reasons as to why they have made these changes, but the basis of these reasons is that they wanted the FAFSA to be easier and safer for users to access.
Whenever you used to enter your FAFSA pin, you would also have to enter very personal information to their website, like you full name and social security number. They felt that constantly having to enter this information was both uneccessary and risky. So, they created a system where you would indentify yourself with that information once to then get a user name and password to use whenever you have to sign in.
You can use your FSA ID:
- The FAFSA application:
- The National Student Loan Data System:
- Look at the history of all the aid you may have recieved over the years.
- Enterance Counseling, Exit Counseling, Promisary Notes, Etc.
- Agreement to Serve:
- Sign your ATS for the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant Program
- My Federal Student Aid:
- Look at any federal aid you may have recieved and who your loan servicer is.
It should also be noted that if you are a dependent, aka your parents information is still required on your FAFSA, then they will also need to get a FSA ID as well. It is best if they apply for this themselves so they there is no confusion as to who they are or what their login information is.
Here is the link to apply for your FSA ID.
Timing is everything.
Or so the feds think. It also seems that most people seem to agree. The FAFSA application has traditionally opened Jan 1st, at midnight, for the aid of the year and the year following. (EX: Jan 2016 it opens, this application covers the 2016-2017 school year.) This has been the case for a while now, but starting in October 2016 that will all change.
Starting October, 2016 the FAFSA application for the 2017-2018 year will be open. They did this in part so that they would have more time to process and send in applications. They also did it so that the people who are filling out the appliation will already have the tax information they need to fill out their application. This means that the taxes that you file for 2015 will be used in your 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 FAFSA applications.
Uploading and waiting for your tax information will be a thing of the past. So mark your calendars for the FAFSAs early release: October 2016.
All in all, these changes are made to make accessing student aid as easy as possible. The feds and us here at ASPIRE/OSAC want nothing more than for you to be able to reach your full potential.
ASPIRE Media Specialist
There are tons of amazing resources out there that’s sole purpose is to help us assist our students. At ASPIRE we have a ton of resources here that are both digital and hard copy. Hopefully, all of you have already received those publications, but if you have not here is the link to where you can order them.
There are also several other sites and organizations that we partner with that offer amazing materials that you might want to hand out to your kids. The following list includes all of those organizations and a brief synopsis of how they might be helpful.
1.) FAFSA Publications: This is where you can find all things Financial Aid and FAFSA. This stuff is nice because it not only comes straight from the FAFSA website, but it also gives you an option to access them electronically. (The electronic versions can be found at THIS link.)
2.) ECMC Publications: The ECMC Opportunities booklet contains information to help high school students prepare for postsecondary education, choose a college, and apply for financial aid. Opportunities also covers financial aid issues such as filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as well as types and sources of federal and state aid, and eligibility criteria.
3.) The Ford Family Foundation Publications: The Ford Family Foundation is a private, non-profit foundation located in Roseburg, Oregon. Started in 1957, the Foundation now manages initiatives and makes grants to public charities in small and mid-size communities in rural Oregon and Siskiyou County, California. The Mission of The Ford Family Foundation is to help individuals through organized learning opportunities to be contributing and successful citizens and to enhance the vitality of rural communities in Oregon and other states.
We are in the FAFSA season and will be conducting FAFSA completion workshops in January. At McKenzie, we will do our FAFSA Completion workshops as “hands on” experiences and families complete the FAFSA at the workshop. The advantage of the workshop is that Will and I can answer questions that families may have as they complete the FAFSA. The goal is to submit an accurate FAFSA in early January so as to be eligible for all federal and state funding that is available.
We have found that students and families need to know how to prepare for filling out the FAFSA. Having them obtain an FSA ID and complete the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet prior to the workshop is important. Below are resources that might be helpful to ASPIRE Mentors.
- 2015-16 Counselors and Mentors Handbook on Federal Student Aid. Will has not posted this on the McKenzie ASPIRE web site since it is written for counselors and mentors. This is the most current edition.
Click here: https://www.edpubs.gov/document/en1327p.pdf?ck=925
The Handbook provides a good overview of what one needs to know about the FAFSA but it is dated because it discusses signing with a PIN instead of the current FSA ID.
- This 86 page document provides an overview of the FAFSA but most importantly explains each question on the FAFSA. If you are doing a FAFSA workshop and a complex question is raised you can go to this document and the specific FAFSA question to get information.
- Will has posted on the McKenzie ASPIRE web site some useful FAFSA documents. The FSA ID document might be helpful. https://aspireatmckhs.wordpress.com/fafsa/
- Here is a link to the McKenzie ASPIRE web site that many ASPIRE Mentors might find helpful. On this page Will posts the Power Points and the handouts that we use for each workshop. The materials are current through Workshop #6. https://aspireatmckhs.wordpress.com/issues-workshops/15-16-workshop-schedule/
If an ASPIRE site wishes to use some of the McKenzie ASPIRE materials that is fine but we would like to be notified and would love feedback on the materials so we can improve.
George A. Letchworth, Ph.D.