Jan. 1 is no longer the first day to begin applying for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA. Recent changes to FASFA will now allow students to complete financial aid forms as early as Oct. 1 and use the previous year’s tax return.
These new changes have begun this year and are intended to ease the application process for faculty, continuing students, and high school seniors in the process of applying for colleges, as financial aid is given on a first-come, first-served basis.
The application for the FAFSA used to require students to provide financial information from the previous year, but this is before the date for taxes to be filed, so estimations are normally made. This prolonged the process and students would have to amend their information once income taxes were filed.
“It was challenging before for students to estimate,” said Susan Gutierrez, director of financial aid at Sonoma State University
When asked about the reasoning behind the start date for the application change and how it will impact the millions of continuing college students and hopefuls who are applying, Gutierrez said it’s a step in the right direction.
Gutierrez also mentioned the California Dream Act, which helps aid undocumented students who have entered the country before the age of 16, will also follow suit and will begin on Oct. 1, effective this year.
“I’m really excited for this new transition, and I think it’ll make things much easier,” said Clarisa Rosas, a Santa Rosa Junior College student.
Students are now able to access, complete and submit their 2017-2018 FAFSA as early as Oct. 1.
President Barack Obama and his administration have made some significant changes to make the application process easier. The new and improved application process, according to the Department of Education, estimates these changes will now be more aligned with the college application process.
There will be fewer delays in the process, financial aid processing hours will go down tremendously, according to Time magazine and will relieve some stress for many by giving them extra time to complete these forms.
Emails will soon go out to inform Sonoma State students about the change to the financial aid process. They will be going out in November, as well as February. Gutierrez is working on promoting this critical information for many on Lobovision sometime this month.
March 2 is the deadline for California State University priority registration applications. For more information, visit FASFA.gov.