September 28, 2016

What Does the New FAFSA Deadline Mean for Students and Their Families?

This year, the FAFSA applications will be available three months earlier than in previous years, on October 1. There are a few things that students should know going into FAFSA season so they can best take full advantage of the earlier deadline.

Though we don’t know yet whether this deadline will help more students take advantage of the financial assistance offered through FAFSA, it does take off some of the pressure, says Sheryl Mihopulos, assistant vice president of Student Financial Services & Financial Aid Compliance at Adelphi University. 

“It does give student more time and less pressure to meet most state and school financial deadlines and more time to compare aid offers,” she says. “The earlier tax information from a completed tax year should help students more easily complete the FAFSA.”

The new FAFSA also includes some other changes, including the need to use prior-prior year income information, meaning students applying this year will be including information from 2015. Luckily, there is a tool built in that can help.

“There is the opportunity for most applicants to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), which streamlines the income questions on the FAFSA,” says Mihopulos. “Some students will still have difficulties filing the FAFSA easily because of changes which happen in the family out of their control like separations, divorce, death, sickness or remarriage of parents.” 

Those students do, however, have options.

“Students have always been able to put appeals in writing to their schools to alert them to any changes in circumstances in a process known as  Professional Judgment,” she says.

Overall, the changes give families more time to plan, allow the applications to have more accurate tax and income information, and should lessen the anxiety.

“Although we do not yet know how the FAFSA changes will affect schools in 2017-18 we believe there will be benefits in alignment with the admissions applications, less confusion about tax information, and more time to make an informed decision about affordability.”

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Adelphi University, New York, is a highly awarded, nationally ranked, powerfully connected doctoral research university dedicated to transforming students’ lives through small classes with world-class faculty, hands-on learning and innovative ways to support academic and career success. Adelphi offers exceptional liberal arts and sciences programs and professional training, with particular strength in our Core Four—Arts and Humanities, STEM and Social Sciences, the Business and Education Professions, and Health and Wellness.

Recognized as a Best College by U.S. News & World Report, Adelphi is Long Island’s oldest private coeducational university. It serves more than 8,100 students at its beautiful main campus in Garden City, New York—just 23 miles from New York City’s cultural and internship opportunities—and at dynamic learning hubs in Manhattan, the Hudson Valley and Suffolk County, as well as online.

More than 115,000 Adelphi graduates have gained the skills to thrive professionally as active, engaged citizens, making their mark on the University, their communities and the world.