Considering Financial Aid in College Choices & FAFSA Updates

Financial Aid can sometimes be one of the last factors considered when students are searching for colleges to apply to. Make this a priority! Include financial considerations within your conversations at home about college. This year beginning with the Class of 2017 the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be open October 1, 2016. The early FAFSA will allow families to get an accurate Expected Family Contribution (EFC) figure and apply that when making decisions about colleges and financial aid. Remember each college will have a Net Price Calculator on their website for you to put in your EFC, family information and other factors to get a rough estimate of your financial aid package that is specific to that school. If you knew after graduating that your debt could be a difference between $60,000 to more than $100,000 wouldn’t you weigh your options? Make an educated decision! Just like buying a car, house or any other large investment, do your research, check with your specific financial situation, get some help and feel confident about where you are applying. Check out the following resource and article that can be a helpful start:


Upcoming Changes on the 2017–18 FAFSA®

Starting with the 2017–18 FAFSA, the application will be available earlier and will request older income information.

  • The 2017–18 FAFSA will be available for applicants to fill out beginning on Oct. 1, 2016. This is three months earlier than the traditional FAFSA launch date of January 1. The October launch date will continue in subsequent years.
  • The 2017–18 FAFSA will request information from applicants’ 2015 tax returns. Traditionally, the FAFSA has requested information from the tax return due near the beginning of the application cycle. For instance, the 2016–17 FAFSA requires 2015 tax information, which some applicants did not have available in time for school or state deadlines that fell early in 2016. But subsequent FAFSAs will request data from tax returns that should already have been filed, simplifying the process for applicants.

Further details for high school counselors, college access professionals, and other mentors are available in our announcement titled FAFSA Changes for 2017–18.

Information for students is available at

We will update this site as the 2017–18 FAFSA launch approaches. Keep an eye out throughout the remainder of summer 2016 for further 2017–18 FAFSA® resources such as videos, suggested tweets and Facebook posts, etc.

Lastly, I wanted to share an article on merit-aid, need-based aid and financial aid packages within private colleges and universities:

Study: Private Colleges Up Tuition Discounts Most freshmen at private, nonprofit schools are receiving some form of grant-based aid, a study finds.


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