KNOXVILLE – Students on Johnson’s campus may have seen fliers or read announcements recently telling of changes in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the 2017-18 year.
FAFSA has announced that this year students will be able to file for aid beginning on October 1st, three months earlier than in prior years.
Students will also for the first time be able to file prior-prior year (PPY) tax information when reporting personal and family income.
JUTN Financial Aid Counselor, Jenna Cook, explained the reasoning behind the changes.
“Normally you use the tax information from the current year, so when you complete your FAFSA most of the time your taxes aren’t completed. You would put ‘will file’ in the tax section and then you can’t be awarded aid until that section is updated,” she said “So you would have to go back into the FAFSA and change it, which most students don’t remember to do.”
Thus, in an effort to simplify, FAFSA will accept already completed 2015 tax forms.
Cook noted that this will be helpful for students in that it will make the tax section of the form a one-step process.
“For students who are selected for verification its also beneficial because half of that process is already done since they’ve used the tool. It just makes it faster for everyone,” she said.
“And the fact that its open earlier gives students more time to manage their finances before the 2017-18 year starts. So they beat all of the rush of the last minute applications and verification process. They can come to school with already in mind what their aid is.”
Although the changes will be helpful for most, some students could face complications, which Johnson’s Financial Aid staff is prepared for.
“If there has been a dramatic loss of income, and that’s a scenario that’s probably going to come up a lot, we are doing special circumstance appeals for those students and reevaluate their situation,” she said “So those people are not necessarily out of luck if something has changed dramatically.”
For more information on JU financial aid visit their webpage.
Financial Aid encourages students to take advantage of these changes and begin filing a FAFSA here.