It is hard to believe that it’s time to plan for the 2017-2018 school year, when this one has just begun!  However, the changes in the FAFSA application process for the next academic year are important and we need to bring an awareness to these changes.

Starting October 1, 2016, the 2017-2018 FAFSA will be available for completion and will require information pertaining to your 2015 tax return.  The Department of Education has made these changes in hopes to make it easier importing your 2015 information for which your taxes should already be complete.  Using the Data Retrieval Tool will ease the transfer of your information into the FAFSA, eliminating the need to go back into your FAFSA at a later date to update it.

It is important to remember that the 2016-17 and 2017-18 FAFSAs will use the same income and tax information.  To avoid conflicting information, the school and Department of Education strongly encourage families to use the Data Retrieval Tool on BOTH FAFSAs.  Prior to completing the 1718 FAFSA, we strongly encourage you to access the 1617 FAFSA and confirm if you have successfully used the DRT. To learn more about how to use the data retrieval tool, please visit: www.studentAid.gov/irsdrt

Although, using 2015 tax information will make the application easier to complete, for some families it may not be a good measurement of a families’ current financial situation due to changes in employment, income or marital status. If these or other circumstances pertain to you, the appeal process allows you to share this information with our office. The appeal form will be available on the financial aid website beginning in early January.

Please be mindful of the following timeline for all returning JCU students:

October 1, 2016:     2017-2018 FAFSA available

January 15, 2017:  FAFSA priority deadline

February 2017:       Financial aid awarding begins

March 2017:            Review of appeal/special circumstance begin

July 15, 2017:         Fall 2017 bills sent

To access the 2017-2018 FAFSA, visit https://fafsa.ed.gov/ and remember you are using your student’s FSA ID to begin.  If have not created your FSA ID or if you do not remember yours, please visit www.fsaid.ed.gov.   Remember you need to log into the FAFSA with the student FSA ID and both the applicant and parents FSA ID are required to sign the FAFSA.

We hope this information will help you prepare for the upcoming year. Please also reference our Student Checklist at www.jcu.edu/aidjcu/  to help you in this process.

As always, our staff is here to help.  Please contact us at 216-397-4248 with any questions or to set up an appointment.