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Applying for financial aid will soon be a much different
process for millions of college students.
News 8's Sarah Thamer joins us with the details.
more than 13 million students apply for FAFSA.
which stands for Free Application for Federal Student
It's a financial assistance program that helps students
pay for college through federal grants.
loans or work study programs.
And beginning this year.
students can apply for financial aid much sooner after
an announcement from President Obama last year.
It's the beginning of a new school year, and the beginning
of a new way to pay for it.
At Western, we have approximately 4 to 5-thousand
students that applied for financial aid.
And most of those students, apply for FAFSA each year
So for the 16, 17 school year that we're in, students
were able to start applying January 1st of 2016.
And the lengthy application process, is just one more
added stressor for many college students.
It's very intimidating because the form asks for lots
of income information.
But instead of waiting to answer those questions in
Janurary, they can now answer them in October.
Because of the executive order that was signed by
president Obama in 2015, students will be able to
apply for the 17/18 school year starting october 1st
of 2016 so that's three months earlier than they typically
could start applying.
Which means families and students will no longer have
to wait to get their most recent tax return information,
in order to fill out the FAFSA application.
Starting for 17, 18, when they apply they'll be able
to use their 2015 tax information again.
But Onalaska high school counselor John Horman says
while the option to apply for
FAFSA earlier may be beneficial for some high school
students, it may complicate the process for others.
With the financial aid application being available
on October 1st, most students are still finishing
up or even starting their college application process
at that point, so it may for some students be an extra
stressor and difficult but for other students who
maybe are ahead of the game, we have a handful of
students who have already applied and some students
who have already been accepted to some schools.
But overall, the transition is intended to make makes
applying for FAFSA an easier, more effective experience.
Really advantagous is when a students is applying,
on the FAFSA form itself, there is an area where they
can actually retreive their IRS data, so when they
fill out the 17/18 form come october 1st, on the actual
application, they will be able to tranfer their 2016
tax information right from the IRS.
Because families will be able to use tax information
from two years earlier, their income may have drastically
changed from one year to the next.
In this case, colleges would work with families to
make sure they are getting the aid they deserve.
Do students still have to apply for FAFSA every year?
Yes they still have to apply for FAFSA every but now
instead of filling out new tax information each year,
they can use their1040 tax form that they already
This in turn will award them quicker and they'll have
more time to plan for the years ahead.