#CampusChat Q & A: FAFSA Changes and Tips from Sallie Mae

fafsa changesSallie Mae was our guest on this week’s #CampusChat. During the chat, Sallie Mae discussed the new FAFSA changes and gave some excellent tips for parents and students. If you missed the chat, following is the Q&A.

For the entire chat transcript, click here.


Q1 What are the major changes to the FAFSA for the 2017–18 school year? #CampusChat

A1 The FAFSA will be available earlier: Oct. 1 of the previous year instead of Jan. 1 of the

upcoming school year.#CampusChat

A1 The FAFSA will collect income information from an earlier tax year. #CampusChat

A1 This means families will have earlier access to the FAFSA & most won’t have to rely on estimates.#CampusChat


Q2 How will an earlier FAFSA and the change to the income year benefit students? #CampusChat

A2 The financial aid application process will be more aligned with the college application process. #CampusChat

A2 There’ll be more time for students to explore financial aid options & apply for aid before state and school deadlines. #CampusChat

A2 Students should contact their schools to determine whether they will adjust their financial aid processing timelines. #CampusChat


Q3 What’s the first step in completing the FAFSA? #CampusChat

A3 Gather all info first. That includes your SSN, driver’s license, 2015 tax returns (or estimates), W-2s & bank statements. #CampusChat

A3 If you are a dependent student, then you will also need most of the above information for your parent(s). #CampusChat


Q4 When should students and parents complete their FAFSA for the upcoming AY year? #CampusChat

A4 Race to file your FAFSA on January 1 so you don’t miss out on aid that’s awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. #CampusChat

A4 Deadlines vary by state; find yours at FAFSA.gov. And don’t forget to complete a FAFSA every year you’re in college. #CampusChat

A4 Keep in mind for the 2017-2018 AY, you’ll be able to submit your FAFSA as early as Oct. 1,2016: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/about/announcements/fafsa-changes #CampusChat


Q5 Do you have any tips and resources to help make the FAFSA process easier? #CampusChat

A5 File Early. Some schools & states aid money on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are depleted. #CampusChat

A5 For ease, file online. When you submit the FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov, it will be processed within 3-5 days. #CampusChat

A5 Be sure to fill out the form completely. Mistakes on the FAFSA can delay the processing of your application. #CampusChat

A5 Don’t let income tax filings slow you down. Families can use their 2014 taxes to get started & then update the form later. #CampusChat

A5 Time is money. The time it takes for you to complete the FAFSA could translate into money to help you pay for college! #CampusChat


Q6 What happens after I fill out the FAFSA?  #CampusChat

A6 Once your FAFSA is processed, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR).#CampusChat

A6 It’s important to make sure that everything on your FAFSA is correct, as your school may ask you to verify some of the info. #CampusChat


Q7 Let’s define some important terms. What is a SAR?  What is EFC? #CampusChat

A7 Your SAR is a summary of the info you submitted in your FAFSA & indicates your Expected Family Contribution(EFC).#CampusChat

A7 EFC is a number used by your school to calculate how much financial aid you are eligible to receive.  #CampusChat

A7 @CollegeBoard has an EFC calculator to help you estimate college costs: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/pay-for-college/paying-your-share/expected-family-contribution-calculator #CampusChat


Q8 What is an FSA ID? #CampusChat

A8 The FSA ID is a username & password that allows you to check your status & e-sign documents at fafsa.gov. #CampusChat

A8 If you’re a parent of a dependent student, you’ll need your own FSA ID to electronically sign your child’s FAFSA. #CampusChat


Q9 What’s a common FAFSA myth? #CampusChat

A9 Common Myths about Financial Aid via @usedgov: http://blog.ed.gov/2015/01/7-myths-about-the-fafsa-and-applying-for-financial-aid-2/  #CampusChat

A9 Myth: My family makes too much money for me to qualify for aid. #CampusChat

A9 Nearly every student is eligible for some form of financial assistance, regardless of financial circumstances.#CampusChat


Q10 How can parents and students avoid FAFSA scams?#CampusChat

A10 Submitting the FAFSA is absolutely FREE! Avoid websites that charge you to file your FAFSA or ask for any payment info. #CampusChat (134)


Q11 Do I have to apply for the FAFSA every year? #CampusChat

A11 Yes. Filing the FAFSA is an annual process. Complete it every year you’re in college. #CampusChat