It’s almost FAFSA time – are you ready?

New for 2016: FSA ID is now required to submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

It’s almost FAFSA time – are you ready?

Do you want to access the largest source of financial aid to pay for college or career school? The U.S. Department of Education’s office of Federal Student Aid provides $150 billion in grants, work-study funds and loans each year to help people pay for post-secondary education. To determine eligibility for these funds, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed. This year, the FAFSA becomes available Jan. 1, 2016, for those attending college between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017.

Even if you are not applying for federal funds, a FAFSA may still be required. Many colleges and universities, both public and private, and states rely on the information provided in the FAFSA to determine eligibility for non-federal funds as well. Remember, students must file a FAFSA each year they want to be considered for financial aid.

Michigan State University Extension would like to note a significant change that has been made to the FAFSA.

  1. FSA ID. The Federal Student Aid Pin has been replaced with the FSA ID. This change took place in May 2015 and a FSA ID is now required. To get a FSA ID, visit the FSA ID website. You will need your social security number, your full name and date of birth. Your parent, if they sign your FAFSA, will also need their own FSA ID.

President Obama announced two additional noteworthy changes to the FAFSA that will go into effect for the 2017-2018 year.

  1. Earlier FAFSA submission. Individuals will be able to apply for the FAFSA as early as Oct. 1, 2016, rather than waiting until Jan. 1, 2017. This earlier start date will allow for closer realignment with college admissions and provide more time to explore financial aid options. It will also provide more time to apply for aide before many state deadlines. March 1 is Michigan’s deadline for priority consideration of state aid.
  2. Earlier income information. Beginning 2017-2018, income information required will be two years prior. Applicants will no longer have to estimate their income and taxes or wait for their taxes to be filed. They will be able to import their income information from the IRS.

For additional information on federal student aid, please visit the Federal Student Aid website.

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