FAFSA changes that can affect you

Changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will allow you to apply earlier, starting Oct. 1, 2016, and use earlier (2015) tax information than in previous years.

Michigan 4-H programs assist youth in applying for college scholarships and how to pay for college. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is one financial program most people who plan to attend college should apply for. There have been changes to the FAFSA program that can impact you. In 2016, the FAFSA launched three months earlier than usual on Oct. 1.

According to the FAFSA website, beginning this year, you’ll also be required to use earlier (2015) tax information than in previous years. How does that benefit you? Since you’ve already filed your 2015 taxes, you’ll be able to transfer your tax information into your FAFSA right away, and you won’t need to update your FAFSA after you file 2016 taxes.

The FAFSA website continues to state that the FAFSA is not just the application for federal grants such as the Pell Grant. It’s also the application for work-study funds, low-interest federal student loans, and even scholarships and grants offered by your state, school or private organization. If you don’t complete the FAFSA, you could lose out on thousands of dollars to help you pay for college. Some financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis and some states and colleges run out of money early, so even if your deadlines aren’t for a while, get your FAFSA done as soon as possible.

Build Your Future,” a National 4-H curriculum written by Michigan State University Extension 4-H staff, has a lesson devoted to financing a post-secondary education.

MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help to prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives. To learn about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth career preparation, money management, and entrepreneurship programs, read the 2015 Impact Report: “Preparing Michigan Youth for Future Careers and Employment.”

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