FAFSA to extend application period next year

Daniel Hale

In the past, families filed their FAFSA forms between Jan. 1 of the current year and June 30 of the next year. This would cause problems for some because they still didn’t have their federal income tax returns at that time. However, new changes to the deadline this year will give students more time to prepare their forms for Kent State’s next calendar year.   

FAFSA, or Free Application for Student Aid, is used to provide post-secondary institutions the means to provide students with grants, loans, scholarships or work-studies to help send them to college. The information provided on the FAFSA determines how much families have to pay, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s financial aid website, Federal Student Aid.

Mark Evans, director of Student Financial Aid at Kent State, learned about the change last fall.

“When the students file for the 2017-2018 (school) year, (they’re) going to be able to do that three months earlier, on Oct. 1 of this year,” Evans said.

As 2016 is a transitional year for this process, families will be able to reuse their 2015 tax returns to file for aid. This will allow normal requirements to proceed following the end of the year.

“It’s good news for families to file the FAFSA earlier,” Evans said. “They will have at their fingertips income that’s, for the most part, been already filed with the IRS.”

“I think it will be a benefit to the students who really need FAFSA in order to get financial aid,” said Jessica Kotik, a sophomore psychology major.

However, Sara Arganza, a senior integrated social studies major, thinks there is still room for improvement in the process.

“It asks a lot of different questions. I’ve screwed it up a couple times and been audited by Kent (State), and then I have to bring in every document known to man,” she said. “It happened to me twice in the three years I’ve been there.”

Daniel Hale is a student finance reporter. Contact him at [email protected]