On Sept. 14, 2015, President Obama announced significant changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that will impact millions of students nationwide, including Missouri State students. Starting with the 2017–18 FAFSA, the following changes will be put in place:
- Students will be able to submit a FAFSA earlier. Students will be able to file a 2017–18 FAFSA as early as October 1, 2016, rather than Jan. 1, 2017. The earlier application start date will be a permanent change, enabling students to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as October 1 every year.
- Students will use income information already available. Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, students (and parents, as appropriate) will report their 2015 income information, rather than their 2016 income information. Note that 2015 income was also used for the current 2016-2017 FAFSA, so the information being reported should not change for most students between this year and next. This information should also be readily available by October 1, and use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the FAFSA, which is highly recommended, now even easier.
Returning students will not have a final award offer until after the Spring semester. However, by submitting their FAFSA earlier they will be able to anticipate their award offer much sooner and have more time to resolve any possible conflicts. The Office of Student Financial Aid, who oversees FAFSA processing at Missouri State University, expects a positive impact on their ability to process applications prior to the start of the new school year, and as the University continues their push to attract the finest students in Missouri its many offices will also feel the benefits of these changes.
Changes to the Federal application will also mean changes at the local level. The priority deadline for state-funded programs such as the Access Missouri grant is now February 1st, 2017, and MSU’s deadline for limited-availability funding has been moved up to match. The deadline for the General and Departmental Scholarship Application will remain at March 1st. Whether a student wishes to apply for state or federal assistance, it’s important to file early!
Students are encouraged to contact the Office of Student Financial Aid if they have concerns. The office can be reached at (417) 836-5262, by email (FinancialAid@MissouriState.edu), or in person in Carrington Hall, Rm. 101.