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:
- Free Money, yassss.
- 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