There have been several large changes to the FAFSA application starting with people going to college in July, 2017. The main changes are: you can start completing your FAFSA form in October, 2016 and you can use either your or your parents’ 2015 tax return. In the past you would have had to wait to file the FAFSA in January of 2017 and you would have had to use a 2016 tax return (which of course was usually not ready).
Why does this matter? In many cases financial aid packages are distributed on a first-come first-serve basis. The sooner you turn in your application, the better your chance of getting aid.
Second colleges use the FAFSA application to evaluate the aid offer they make to a student. You may now get a financial aid package offer sooner, allowing you to have more time to compare all your college offers.
To learn more click here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/…/ab…/announcements/fafsa-changes…