Embrace the FAFSA Change

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prodigy-fafsaIt’s time to take out your W-2 forms; the FAFSA is beginning their financial aid application a whole 3 months earlier than originally anticipated.  Unlike in past years, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and the California Dream Act application are now allowing students to apply as early as October 1st for the 2017-2018 academic year. Not only will the application process allow students to submit their application sooner, but it will also request income tax transcript information from 2 years ago. For example, if you are filing for the 2017-2018 academic year, you will provide your income transcript from the year 2015. The FAFSA and the California Dream Act application will still have their regularly assigned deadline on March 2nd. So why exactly did this change occur? Ron Radney, the director of financial aid and scholarships explained, “it encourages students to use the IRS data retrieval tool.” The Financial Aid Office hopes that using the IRS data retrieval tool will result in fewer students being selected for the verification process. Overall the new FAFSA changes should simplify the application process by using concrete tax information instead of the usage of estimated incomes in order to speed up the process. For those students who still have questions about how to file the FAFSA/California Dream Act application or about the new changes occurring, there will be workshops available on October 3rd, 2016 from 12pm-2pm in COB 281, October 5th, 2016 from 12:30 pm-2:30pm in COB 281, and October 10th, dsc_04672016 from 9:00AM-12:00pm in KL 208. “I encourage students to [especially] attend these workshops if they had a change in marital status or if they cannot use IRS data retrieval tool, they can bring their income tax transcript … they will have advisors filling out information with them,” states Ron Radney, director of financial aid and scholarships, we encourage students to attend these workshops in order to avoid any issues with the financial aid office in the long run. If you have any questions regarding financial aid or FAFSA/California Dream Act Application contact the Office of Financial Aid Services at: (209) 228-7861 or e-mail them at finaid@ucmerced.edu.

 

Photo Credit: Bianca Ramirez

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