Changes are coming to the FASFA, here’s what you need to know

FASFA opening on Oct. 1.
Graphic courtesy of Federal Student Aid.

There are a few changes coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process this year. No need to worry, these changes are good and help students file their information earlier than ever and get their aid faster. Remember that is the only official FASFA website and that it’s completely free to fill out an application. The process and application remain as easy as ever, but students may still have a few questions.

What are the changes?

FAFSA Changes at a Glance graphic. Gives the new application date of Oct. 1 each year and the new filing information using 2015 taxes.
Graphic courtesy of Federal Student Aid.

The 2017–18 FAFSA will be available much sooner. From now own, you’ll be able to begin your application on Oct. 1 of each year, three months earlier than previous years. Filing earlier helps you meet important aid deadlines, explore your options and helps maximize the amount of aid you get.

You’ll use earlier income and tax information. Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, you’ll report your 2015 income and tax information, no need to worry about your 2016 income taxes (until next year, that is). Because you’ll have done your 2015 taxes, this change means you no longer have to report estimates and log in later to update your FASFA.

How does Southwestern College get my information?

List Southwestern College as your college in the application to ensure we receive your information from the Department of Education. Our school code is 001294. We’ll contact you with further steps and information on documents we may need. Remember to set up your Southwestern College email address to stay up-to-date–all correspondence will be done through that account.

What if I still have questions?

Completely understandable, that’s why there are many resources available. First, gather everything you’ll need to fill out your application and follow these step-by-step instructions. And, of course, you can stop by or contact Southwestern College’s Financial Aid office on the first floor of the Cesar Chavez Student Services Center.

What other aid is there?

Graphic courtesy of Federal Student Aid.
Graphic courtesy of Federal Student Aid.

California community college students also have the opportunity to apply for the Board of Governors Fee Waiver, that waives tuition costs for eligible California residents. Plus, Southwestern College offers scholarships to students each semester. The fall scholarship application also begins on Oct. 1.