What’s changing for 2017-2018?
- The FAFSA will be available earlier!
For students who will be enrolled during the 2017-2018 school year, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be available for submission as early as October 1, 2016.
- The FAFSA will require information from an earlier tax year.
Beginning with the 2017-2018 FAFSA, students will report income information from two years prior instead of the previous year’s tax return (example: 2015 Tax Return used to complete the FAFSA for 2017-2018 school year.)
Why are these changes beneficial?
- You will not have to use estimated data or wait until you complete your tax return in the spring to apply for financial aid for the next school year. The prior year tax return needed for the FAFSA will already be done (for most families) before October 1.
- More families filing the FAFSA can use the built-in link to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to use the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to import income information directly into the FAFSA with fewer errors.
- Families whose FAFSA is selected for verification will be able to turn in official Federal Tax Return Transcripts or use the IRS DRT to import information to the FAFSA immediately
Why should I file a FAFSA early?
- File the FAFSA on October 1, 2016 or as soon as you are able to file. In addition to determining your institutional eligibility for grants, the State of Illinois and federal funds are also determined by the FAFSA and in some instances, money is limited.
- Applying early may give you the information you need to make informed decisions about financial planning and college selection.
If I file the FAFSA early, will I know about my financial aid package earlier?
There are several factors in determining financial aid awards that may not be available to financial aid offices in October. Also, final state grant award formulas may not yet be approved by state legislature. LCU will begin processing financial aid awards for NEW students on November 1, 2016 and CONTINUING students after the fall 2016 semester is complete.
What if my family’s financial situation has changed since 2015? Can I report 2016 information instead?
You must report the tax information for the year that the FAFSA asks for. If your family’s income has changed substantially since the 2015 tax year, please contact the Financial Aid Office regarding your situation.