FAFSA Changes for 2016

There are two major changes related to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that you should know about:

  1. As of October 1, 2016, FAFSA is now available for the 2017-2018 school year. This is a big change from prior years when the application wasn’t available until January. The earlier submission date will be a permanent change, enabling you to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as October 1 every year.
  2. Often our Michigan and Indiana "KLients" were pressured to complete their 1040 tax return early to meet the state FAFSA deadline in March. Beginning for the 2017-18 school year, applications will request tax and income information from an earlier tax year. State deadlines will remain the same (Midnight Central Time on March 1 in Michigan and March 10 in Indiana) but your prior year tax return information will be used. In the example of the 2017-18 school year, you would submit 2015 income tax return information. 2016 tax return data will not be used until the following year (application deadline March 2018).


Because tax returns are already fully processed for the upcoming FAFSA application period, schools are highly suggesting that applicants use the IRS retrieval tool instead of inputting the information from their tax returns manually. This is a secure method with the IRS website and should minimize errors or the likelihood you will be selected for verification.

State and school deadlines will remain approximately the same as in 2016–17. However, several states that offer first come, first served financial aid will change their deadlines from “as soon as possible after January 1” to “as soon as possible after October 1.” We would highly recommend that you check your state and school deadlines so that you don’t miss out on any aid. State deadlines are on while school deadlines are on the respective school website.

If you have other questions related to new FAFSA changes, check out this fact sheet: College Students and Parents: What You Need to Know About the 2017­–18 FAFSA®.

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