FAFSA Provides Students with Eligibility for more than $150
Billion in Grants, Work-Study, and Federal Student Loans
Changes Made to the FAFSA Are Advancing College Financial Aid
Packaging Processes This Year
NEWARK, Del.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–While the confetti has been swept away and New Year’s celebrations are
over for another year, many U.S. college-bound students still have one
more important resolution to uphold in 2017: filing a Free Application
for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Schools rely on information students
submit through the FAFSA to develop financial aid packages, states use
it to determine student eligibility for state-based aid, and some
scholarships require it as part of their application.
By simply completing the FAFSA, students can gain access to more than $150
billion in grants, work-study funds, and federal student loans. Families
can get started on the process by creating their Federal Student Aid ID
username and password at fafsa.gov.
“Although the FAFSA application release date was shifted forward to Oct.
1 for the upcoming academic year, state deadlines haven’t changed, and
some are rapidly approaching,” said Martha Holler, senior vice
president, Sallie Mae. “So, if you’ve made a resolution to file your
FAFSA in 2017, now is the time to check it off your college prep
To help families navigate the FAFSA process, Sallie Mae, the nation’s
saving, planning, and paying for college company, has created an online
library of tips, tools, and resources. Here’s what students and families
need to know:
The FAFSA was made available three months earlier, but state
deadlines have not changed.
Some state deadlines for grant
and scholarship aid are right around the corner, including Tennessee
on Jan. 17, Missouri on Feb. 1, and Connecticut on Feb. 15. In
addition, several states, including Massachusetts, Texas, and
Washington, award aid on a first-come, first-served basis. All state
deadlines are listed at fafsa.ed.gov/deadlines.
Families must use their 2015 tax information.
help simplify the application process, as families will no longer need
to estimate their taxes to complete the FAFSA, or put off completing
it until they file their 2016 taxes. Asking families to use their 2015
tax return, or what the Department of Education calls “prior-prior
year” tax information, also means more families will be able to use
the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which helps save time by importing tax
information directly into the FAFSA.
Award letters may be mailed to students earlier.
the earlier availability of the FAFSA, many colleges are now releasing
financial aid award letters earlier this year. Award letters provide
important information, including the school’s estimated Cost of
Attendance and the financial aid package — including scholarships,
grants, and loans — offered to the student. For more information on
analyzing award letters, visit SallieMae.com/awardletters.
Families of college-bound students should also remember the following
strategies for successfully completing the FAFSA:
Gather any required information before attempting to file the
FAFSA. In addition to creating a username and password — Federal
Student Aid ID — families will need Social Security numbers, driver’s
license numbers, bank statements, 2015 tax returns, and W-2 forms.
Having this information ready to go before you begin the application
can expedite the process.
Complete the FAFSA as a high school senior — and every year in
college. Filing a new FAFSA each year is the only way to remain
eligible for federal student aid, and it is important to note that the
amount of aid may change each year. Additionally, nearly every student
is eligible for some form of financial aid, so it’s essential that all
families complete a FAFSA on an annual basis.
The most convenient way to fill out a FAFSA is online at fafsa.gov.
And remember, filing the FAFSA is always free. Never pay a fee to
file the FAFSA, and make sure to file at fafsa.gov.
Consider listing any state schools first on the FAFSA. Families
will need to list at least one school on the FAFSA. Some state aid is
based on the order in which schools are listed, so families may want
to list state schools first to be in line for any available state aid.
Additional information, including state deadlines for completing the
FAFSA, is available at studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa.
To watch Sallie Mae’s “Beginner’s Guide to FAFSA” video, get additional
tips about completing and submitting the FAFSA, or to download the College
Ahead Mobile App to keep track of key deadlines, visit salliemae.com/fafsa.
Sallie Mae (NASDAQ: SLM) is the nation’s saving, planning, and
paying for college company. Whether college is a long way off or just
around the corner, Sallie Mae offers products that promote responsible
personal finance, including private education loans, Upromise rewards,
scholarship search, college financial planning tools, and online retail
banking. Learn more at SallieMae.com.
Commonly known as Sallie Mae, SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries are
not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
Beth K. Toll, 302-463-0109