FAFSA update should help

Students can apply for financial aid earlier in the school year with the new Oct. 1 FAFSA filing date.

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FAFSA update should help

Marissa Payne, [email protected]

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The U.S. government has made a permanent date change for the Federal Application for Student Aid.

Instead of filing for the FAFSA by Jan. 1, students were able to apply starting Oct. 1 for financial aid for the next school year.

Cathy Wilcox, University of Iowa senior associate director of Student Financial Aid, said students will now file for the 2017-18 FAFSA and all future FAFSAs using “prior prior year’s income.” This means, for this year, students will use 2015 tax and income information.

“That’s a positive really for everybody, because we no longer have FAFSAs that will get filed using estimated income information,” she said. “Before, when they were filing with the estimated information, the students and parents had to go back into the FAFSA after the tax return was filed and update it.”

Although the October filing date eliminates the need to use estimated tax information, UI student Jason Estrada said this could pose communication problems for students and their families.
“They would have to call their parents, and there might be some scheduling conflicts about getting their information and putting in the application,” he said.

Despite the potential challenges the new filing date may bring, Wilcox said students will benefit from an earlier award notification date. The hopes are to start sending award notifications to UI students mid-January, Wilcox said. Under the old system, award notification did not start until March.