Changes to FAFSA

FAFSA now requires two years of tax information and the application can now be filled out as early as Oct. 1, giving students an extra three months to fill out the form.

What students need to know to apply for federal aid next school year 

 

For some students, financial aid can mean having enough money to afford rent, textbooks or even more daunting, the price

of an education.

The 2017-18 school year marks the beginning of students ability to apply for FAFSA earlier than previous years, changing from Jan. 1 to Oct. 1. 

Doug Severs, Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships, sees the changes in

a positive light. 

“We’ve gone to this, what we call early FAFSA for students that file early and part of that is using prior, prior year data.  So we think that’s going to be good in regard to providing much better data,” Severs said. 

Severs is referring to FAFSA altering the required information necessary to apply.  Students are now required to provide two years worth of tax records, up from one prior year.  For many students, that information can be found in their previous year’s income taxes on their 1040 or 1040-EZ form.

This information comes as a bit of a surprise for many students who are unaware of the recent changes.  OSU student Kolby Baethke, felt left in the dark about the changes and was preparing to apply for FAFSA with a single year’s worth of tax info, as he had done in previous years.  Baethke was surprised to hear that this year, it would be different.

“Well for me it raises the question as to how two years tax info would change the outcome. Plus people could go through a huge change in that time and in their taxes, which could alter what they should be

provided,” Baethke said. 

PJ Harris, another student, was unaware and unprepared for the changes.

“It sounds like they’re trying to figure out a new system to how they distribute the aid. I’m not sure that’s a kind way to do it but it sounds effective for the majority,” Harris said. 

Severs said the changes being made are meant to aid students in their application process, but the changes do come with the potential for complications.  However, Doug Severs’ outlook remains hopeful for the roughly 21,000 Oregon State FAFSA awardees, despite the possibility of issues arising. 

“They’ll still have plenty of time to get the information on the form and it will be much better in that regard,” Severs said.

For OSU students looking for assistance with FAFSA or financial aid, Associate Director of the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, Brian Hultgren, advised making use

of campus resources.

“We always encourage students to meet with (us), come in ask questions, give us a call. We can set up times to meet with an advisor if the have more complicated or special situations with the FAFSA,” Hultgren said.

Oregon State students can now apply for early FAFSA through the office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. The Priority Filing Deadline for the 2017-18 school year at OSU is Feb. 28. For inquiries on financial aid, students can visit the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, located in Kerr 218, or via phone 541-737-2241 or email at [email protected]