Students are now able to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid earlier than Jan. 1st.
On Oct. 1st the online application for financial aid became available three months earlier for both future and currently enrolled college students.
The change allows high school students three additional months to compare the awards they receive from different schools they’ve applied to.
The new application only requires students to provide their 2015 tax information without the need to later update it using 2016’s.
Tony Georges is the director of financial aid at the University of Missouri- Saint Louis. He said the change impacts the college decision process for high school students.
“Its important because financing one’s education is important. We’re talking about a very expensive cost. It will give new students, prospective students, the ones that are in high school right now an opportunity to have a much earlier preview of what kind of financial aid to expect.”
The early release has also prompted many community organizations such as the Wyman Center in Saint Louis to begin providing early services for students.
Danielle Washington is an associate director as the Wyman Center. She said that working with families on a one on one basis makes the process of filing for FAFSA a little bit easier.
“We had about 15 of our students come out with their families. They brought their tax forms with them. And we sat down and actually completed FAFSA with our students that day. And so we started it early instead of waiting until spring when we typically do it.”
Washington also said that a lot of the aid is first come first serve. She encourages students to file as soon as possible.
The deadline for filing for FAFSA is June 30th, 2017.