3 misconceptions about the 2017-2018 FAFSA

June 28, 2016
  • AACRAO Connect
  • Financial Aid and FAFSA
Person driving their car on a stretch of road with no other cars visible.

Recent changes to the FAFSA (review here) have created a flurry of questions—and some great opportunities for campuses across the country.

Is your campus ready? To be sure you’re having the right conversations, catch up with this summary of the first in a series of webinars jointly hosted by AACRAO, CollegeSource, and NACAC.

Are your “road warriors” ready? Admissions staff need to be prepared to answer questions and be aware of best practices in preparing offices for the change, which goes into effect this fall.

At the second webinar in the series, held in early June. Claire Fluker, Awareness and Outreach Specialist, Office of Federal Student Financial Aid, U.S. Department of Education, cleared up some of the major misconceptions about the ’17-’18 FAFSA, including:

1. Colleges ARE NOT required to package financial aid earlier. Discretion is left to each individual institution, though earlier packaging is encouraged.

2. The new FAFSA SHOULD NOT be called the “prior-prior FAFSA.” The upcoming FAFSA should be marketed as the ’17-18 FAFSA.. Students will not actually be using prior-prior tax information if they are filing between October and December 2016—they will be using information from 2015.

3. All state deadlines ARE NOT changing. Very few states have indicated, thus far, that they are moving their deadlines. The discretion is left to each individual state.

Fluker noted that tips for staff training, timetables, handouts, outreach, and other resources are available at the “one-stop-shop” for FAFSA, the Financial Aid Toolkit. Additionally, she noted the following:

  • The start date of October 1 does not mean students have less time to complete the FAFSA—they have three extra months.
  • The IRS Data Retrieval Tool will be available with 2015 information for the new FAFSA.

The full webinar, Essential Information for “Road Warriors”: Helping Admission Staff Talk with Students and Families about the 2017-2018 FAFSA, also included information about FSAID, as well as helpful tips from Alick Lètang, Assistant Vice President of Enrollment Management, Iona College; and Lisa Blazer, Senior Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, University of Texas at San Antonio.

For more information, visit the AACRAO FAFSA Resources page.

And register now for the third and final webinar in the series, Practical Implications for the 2017-2018 FAFSA on Admission and Enrollment Management Offices, hosted by AACRAO, Thursday, August 25, 2016. In this third and final webinar, you will receive the latest update from a Department of Education, Federal Student Aid, representative on the issue, as well as a review of an AACRAO Sixty Second Survey on institutional responses to the changes. You will also hear from presenters who will discuss how their offices are handling the changes.