Breaking News: Student Financial Aid Just Got Easier
Attention, all parents and students! We bid farewell to Sheri’s Summer Refresher Series and bring you an important, good-news announcement that you might have missed in all the back-to-school action (including all the obligatory “first day at school” social media posts and pics).
As reported in a New York Times article, “Earlier Date for Filing Fafsa Form for College Aid,” the national Education Department just made it easier to apply for Federal Student Aid. Yes, you heard correctly: The government just eliminated some red tape.
Here’s the scoop. In the past, the soonest you could submit your college-bound kid’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) was January 1, reporting household income from the year just ended.
This was problematic. January 1 doesn’t coincide well with typical college admission cycles. Worse, in a Catch-22 conundrum, most wage statements and similar income reports for the year just ended aren’t yet available by January 1. That left families choosing whether to guesstimate their prior year’s income (and have to submit amended paperwork later on), or postpone filing their FAFSA and risk missing out entirely.
You can now file your FAFSA as early as October 1 for the next new school year, plus you can report your income from the “prior prior” calendar year. So, for example, if you’re filing your FAFSA on October 1, 2016, you can report the income from your 2015 tax returns.
As a bonus to being able to use completed tax return data, The New York Times column notes that “many more students can use the Internal Revenue Service’s Data Retrieval Tool, which automatically fills in the online FAFSA form with the necessary tax information.”
All well and good. As usual, there are a few caveats to go with the changes. The new filing date means you may want to be ready to run with your FAFSA filing on October 1 – which may be sooner than you were originally preparing for. Also pay close attention to financial aid application deadlines for the higher education institutions of your choice, as these too might come sooner than they have in the past.
If we can help with your higher education financial planning, let us know. Or even if you’d just like to commiserate with a sympathetic soul on the pleasures and pains of becoming an empty nester, believe me, I’m right there with you. Our youngest, Devon, just flew the coop.
SAGE Serendipity: Ever hear of a wikihole? Maybe not. But chances are you have found yourself going down one. Here is part of the Urban Dictionary definition:
Urban Dictionary: wiki-hole – www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=wiki–hole
“Going down a wikihole” is a term used to describe the phenomenon in which one opens a wiki article about something cool, clicks on a link to another article …
Here is a Buzzfeed article that will send you clicking through a curated list of subjects such as Last Meals, Lists of Common Misconceptions and Feral Children to name a few: 19 Wikipedia Pages That’ll Send You Into A Week-Long Wikihole. Warning — click in only if you have some time to waste.