Scoop: Q and A: FAFSA changes

Daily Journal staff reports

Families who have college-bound students in the next few years will be able to file the application for financial aid sooner.

Changes have been made to the 2017-18 application to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Federal and state government and colleges look at the application to award student grants and loans to college students.

Christine Lucas, associate director of financial aid at Franklin College, tells families what they need to know about the changes.

What are the upcoming changes to the FAFSA?

Beginning with the 2017-18 FAFSA, families will be able to begin completing the FAFSA on Oct. 1. To accommodate this change, families will be utilizing 2015 tax data to fill out the form.

How will these changes affect students applying for aid?

Families will be able to fill out the FAFSA form at the same time they apply for college. Many colleges in turn will be able to make estimated aid packages available much earlier in the decision cycle than ever before.

Why were the changes made?

To have the application cycle for college and aid be more in line.

What is the biggest change that was made?

The tax data that will be used from the 2017-18 cycle forward will be from two years prior.

How should students prepare for these changes?

Attend their high school financial aid nights if available. Many have moved from the January time period to October/November. There will be two College Goal Sunday events in Indiana this year, one Nov. 13, and the other Feb. 12. Please see for event time and locations.

Does this affect state grant decisions?

The Indiana state deadline will remain March 10. The only effect that the state foresees are more persons having complete FAFSAs filed timely.

How do college financial aid officers interpret the changes?

The enrollment management team (admissions and financial aid) at all institutions are analyzing how these changes will affect their interaction and communication with interested students.