Your One-Stop Shop for FAFSA Resources

September 12, 2016

By Allie Ciaramella, Communications Manager 

To help ensure that students, parents and counselors are prepared for the release of the 2017-18 FAFSA in just a few weeks, NCAN has compiled a slew of resources on Early FAFSA and prior-prior year data, the Federal Student Aid ID, filing the FAFSA and more. This collection will live on NCAN’s website at www.collegeaccess.org/FAFSA.

NCAN is also preparing to make even more resources and information available on the forthcoming website of our new national FAFSA completion campaign Form Your Future, launching Sept. 30 at www.formyourfuture.org.

Back-to-school season this year comes with an improvement for high school seniors: An earlier and (for many) easier FAFSA. Starting on Oct. 1, students will be able to complete the FAFSA using income tax information from two years prior for the 2017-18 academic year. This is a much-needed change. Studies suggest that students left $2.7 billion in federal financial aid on the table in 2014, and at least 2 million students fail to complete the FAFSA each year.

Thanks to Early FAFSA, those students will be more likely to be able to import their income tax information into the form electronically, speeding the application process and reducing likelihood of selection for additional verification of income information. It will also allow students to learn their federal aid eligibility earlier, permitting them more time to shop around and apply to colleges before admissions deadlines.

But the changes also bring new elements to a complicated process that has sometimes deterred the low-income students who most need financial support from filing the form. It is essential that individuals who work with and support students throughout the college application and transition process can access and share the most up-to-date information. To that end, we hope college access and success professionals – NCAN members and non-members alike – take advantage of the resources we are posting.

They include an overview of changes impacting the 2017-18 FAFSA by the U.S. Department of Education, an Early FAFSA FAQ from the Federal Student Aid office, troubleshooting tips and videos for obtaining an FSA ID including a pre-emptive student information sheet from our member Access College Foundation, additional guidance from groups like the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the National Association of College Admission Counseling, and dozens of other videos, tip sheets and handbooks from professionals working to support students through the next academic year and beyond.

Director of Technical Assistance MorraLee Keller contributed to this post.

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