Preparing for the 2017-18 FAFSA

With the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid, families will need to prepare for the FAFSA sooner than ever before starting with the 2017-18 filing cycle. So, how should families prepare for the 2017-18 FAFSA?

With the changes to the FAFSA, preparation is less involved than it had been with the previous version of the form. While the former FAFSA often required families to provide tax estimates, that will no longer be the case. Instead, families will be able to use 2015 tax information to file the FAFSA. Additionally, a majority of families will qualify to use the Data Retrieval Tool to upload their 2015 tax information directly from the IRS to their 2017-18 FAFSA.

Getting to know the new FAFSA >>

While tax information makes up a significant portion of the FAFSA, there are other questions as well. A lot of these will be things that families know off the top of their head. However, there will be at least a bit of preparation involved, even with the new FAFSA.

Information that families will want to have readily available includes:

  • Social security numbers for students and parents (or other registration numbers for non-US citizens)
  • Dates of birth for students and parents
  • Recent bank and investment statements
  • Statements of untaxed income
  • An FSA ID for one parent and the student

The FAFSA will ask about your totals in savings, investments and untaxed income (if applicable). The FSA ID is something that can take a bit of time, but the good part about this is that you can use it for filing in future years. However, this also means that you’ll want to keep the ID and passwords created on file.

Considering the FAFSA is now available starting October 1 for those applying for the 2017-18 aid year, I would recommend that you start getting this information together, including the creation of the FSA IDs, in September.

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