So how much is it actually gonna cost to send your kid to college? The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determines how much money your family is expected to contribute to your child’s college education, and is used to establish how much your child will be offered in grants, work study, and loans. This critical part of the application process is changing this year.In years past, January 1 was the earliest you could file the FAFSA; starting with the 2017-2018 application season, the filing date has been moved up to October 1. So, if you have a rising senior (meaning s/he will be attending college in the fall of 2017), you can apply for aid as early as two and a half months from now. The earlier date will be a permanent change going forward.
This year’s FAFSA will use your family’s 2015 income, rather than your 2016 income, to determine the amount of aid your child qualifies for. Because most families will have completed their taxes by October, they will not need to estimate their tax information and then later update it.
We implore you to file the FAFSA as close to October 1 as possible in order to ensure that you receive the most college funding you are eligible for. Because of the earlier deadline, your child might not have made final decisions about which schools s/he will be applying to at the time of filing. That’s okay. You can list the schools you’ve decided upon, then add any additional schools later.
You and your child will need FSA IDs to file the FAFSA and you can sign up for it now. Click here to get started.