What's changed ?
Free Application for Federal for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), these changes will be
- You'll be able to submit your FAFSA earlier. You can file your FAFSA as early as
Oct. 1, rather than beginning on Jan. 1. The earlier submission date will be a permanent
change, enabling you to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as October 1 every year.
- You'll use earlier income and tax information from an earlier tax year. The following
table provides a summary of key dates as we transition to using the early FAFSA submission
timeframe and earlier tax information.
What is it?
The FAFSA form is the form that the federal government uses to determine your eligibility
for federal aid including:
FAFSA Submission Timeframe
|When a Student is Attending College (School Year)?
||When Can a Student Submit a FAFSA?
|| Which Year's Income and Tax Information is Required?
| July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020
||Oct. 1, 2018 - June 30, 2020
| July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021
||Oct. 1, 2019 - June 30, 2021
How will the changes benefit me?
We expect that you'll benefit in these ways:
Because the FAFSA will ask for older income and tax information, you will already
have done your taxes by the time you fill out your FAFSA, and you won’t need
to estimate your tax information and then go back into the FAFSA later to update it.
Because you’ll already have done your taxes by the time you fill out your FAFSA,
you may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) to automatically import
your tax information into your FAFSA. (Learn about the IRS DRT at StudentAid.gov/irsdrt.)
Because the FAFSA is available earlier, you may feel less pressure due to having
more time to explore and understand your financial aid options and apply for aid before
your state’s and school’s deadlines.
Where can I get more information about - and help with - the FAFSA?
Visit StudentAid.gov/fafsa; and remember, as you fill out your FAFSA at fafsa.gov, you can refer to help text for every question and (during certain times of day)
chat online with a customer service representative
How does it work?
Using your FAFSA, the federal processor determines your Expected Family Contribution
(EFC). EFC - the amount of money your family can be expected to contribute to your
college costs each year. Your school will then try to meet your needs through a financial
aid award made up of funds from federal, state, school and private sources as well
as loans, grants and student employment.
Completing the FAFSA is the first step in the financial aid process. This can be
done using one of the following methods:
It will take the federal government 1-2 weeks to process your form and send you a
Student Aid Report (SAR) by mail. Your SAR will summarize the data you report on your
application. Please check this information carefully to make sure it is accurate.
Keep a copy of your SAR and note your Data Release Number (DRN) in the upper right
corner of the first page; you will need your DRN if you decide to apply to additional
schools. If your FAFSA information is complete, an Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
will be printed next to your DRN. Your EFC will be based on the financial information
you provide on the FAFSA, and your school will use it to award your financial aid.
If you have questions about federal student aid, contact your financial aid administrator
or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at (800) 4-FED-AID (800 433-3243). TTY users may call (800) 730-8913.