You may have heard rumblings in the media about the 2017-2018 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) using “prior-prior year” data. What does this mean? Two things:
- You’ll be able to submit the 2017-18 FAFSA beginning on October 1st—a full three months earlier than previous years.
- You’ll use tax data from your 2015 tax return to complete the FAFSA, which means you already have everything you need to apply for financial aid!
So what now? Although the FAFSA and CSS PROFILE applications don’t become available until Saturday (October 1st), there are some things you can do now to make the process easier when it’s time to sit down and apply for aid.
Understand the steps to apply.
Each school may have slightly different requirements and deadlines to apply for financial aid, so be sure to do your research! At the University of Denver, we require the FAFSA, the CSS PROFILE, and other documentation. Learn more on our website.
Create your FSA ID.
An FSA ID gives you access to all of Federal Student Aid's online systems and serves as your legal signature for the FAFSA. You and your parent should each have your own FSA ID. It can take up to three days for the Social Security Administration to verify your information, so it's a good idea to complete this task now. Create your FSA ID online at https://fsaid.ed.gov.
Gather your financial documents.
Having your and your parents' financial documents on hand will make the application process much easier. Useful documents include:
- 2015 income tax returns
- 2015 W-2 forms
- 2015 records of untaxed income and benefits
- Records of savings, stocks, bonds, trusts and other investments
- Business assets, if applicable
- Current bank statements and mortgage information
It's also helpful to have your social security number, your parents' social security numbers, and your driver's license readily available when you fill out your financial aid applications.
Apply for private scholarships.
Although this isn't a required part of the DU financial aid application, we highly encourage you to research and apply for as many private scholarships as you can. It's free money! Now is a great time to start looking, as many scholarship providers have fall and winter application deadlines. Get started with our scholarship search page.
Applying for financial aid doesn’t have to be scary! If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact our office at 303-871-4020 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re here to help you!
Lisa Westendorf - Associate Director of Communications for Financial Aid