On Sept. 14, 2015, the Obama Administration announced changes to the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, for current high school juniors and younger. Beginning in 2016, the FAFSA will now be available in October of your student’s senior year (instead of January) and will use tax and financial information from the previous year, 2015 (it used to be the 2016). This new method is called prior, prior. To clarify:
If your student enters college in 2016 you will use 2015 income tax returns and financial information
If your student enters college in 2017, you will use 2015 income tax returns and financials information as well
If your student enters college in 2018 you will use the 2016 income tax information and the process rolls forward each year for future years…2019 will use 2017 tax return and financial information ect...
It is vital that families obtain an education on “financial” college planning strategies. The government believes that paying for college is ultimately the responsibility of the family. Therefore, the sooner families understand the cost and expenses associated with college and begin financially planning for the expense, the more successful they will be with their overall college plan.