You can file your FAFSA beginning October 1, 2016, and we encourage you to do so as soon as possible, but be aware that these changes may not affect the timeline for continuing students to receive their financial aid packages. As in previous years, you would receive your package in early to mid-June. However, with the implementation of the Early FAFSA, for students who are able to register late March/early April they may be able to receive their financial aid package as early as May 2017 for the 2017-18 academic year.
The main advantage to you in filing earlier will be to give you more time to complete any needed paperwork so that your application will be ready for the completion of your financial aid package in late spring. The deadline for completing your FAFSA for PHEAA State Grant consideration will not change and is still by May 1 for PA residents.
Filing earlier or later will not change the amount of aid you will receive. Filing earlier, however, will allow you more time to respond to additional document requests and to work on options for any outstanding balance due in Fall 2017.
Applications for Parent Plus Loans and/or private/alternative loans will not need to be completed any earlier and we still recommend waiting until after May 1, 2017 to complete and submit these applications for 2017-2018.
If you have been selected for verification in the past, you’ll be glad to hear that this new system makes verification simpler. If selected for verification for the 2017-2018 year, most applicants should be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) right away because tax information from 2015 should now be processed and ready to use via the DRT. This streamlined process will cut down on the amount of additional information you have to submit to us and eliminate wait times for things like tax transcripts, allowing you to more easily receive your financial aid package on schedule.