The Silver Lake Blog

10 Things to Know about the 2016-2017 FAFSA

Posted By Benjamin Wideman On January 14, 2016


It’s that time. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid has officially opened for the 2016-2017 academic year. If you haven’t filled out the online application, now is the time.

For those of you who don’t know, the FAFSA is one requirement every student needs to be considered for loans, grants, scholarships and to qualify for the federal work study program. There is ample opportunity once the FAFSA has been filed. 

Here are 10 things you must know about the FAFSA:

10 Thing to know before you start:

  1. The application renews every year which means you, as a high school student, freshman, sophomore, junior, or graduate applicant can file for this year’s FAFSA.
  2. The FAFSA opened January 1, 2016 for the 2016-2017 academic year and closes June 30, 2017 (federal deadline).

  3. Keep in mind that there are 3 deadlines that revolve around the FAFSA -- the federal deadline, the state deadline, and the school’s deadline.

  4. The earlier you apply, the more likely you are to receive awards such as Federal Pell Grants and other aid from states and institutions (free money). These awards are given on a first come, first serve basis. So, don’t wait!

  5. As of May 2015, the FSA ID (a simpler and more efficient method of logging into the FAFSA) replaced the FAFSA PIN which was previously used to log in to the application.

  6. An FSA ID can be retrieved by going to the Federal Student Aid site and creating an account. If you are a dependent, both you and your parents will need to create separate FSA IDs.

  7. Other benefits of the new FSA ID include better security for the user by removing the requirement to input personal information (SSN, DOB, last name, and PIN) with each login. It also allows for a more effective method of updating account information and retrieving lost login credentials.

  8. 1.3 million students out of 2 million who did not file a FAFSA were eligible to receive the federal Pell Grant.  This was $5,775 for the 2015-2016 academic year.

  9. The FAFSA application for the 2017-2018 academic year will change. It will be made shorter, and the open date of the application will be October 1, 2017, thus giving the applicants more time to complete the application and receive more financial aid.

  10. The financial information being used on the FAFSA will be from two previous years. So, your 2015 financial information will be used on the 2017-2018 FAFSA instead of your 2016 information.

5 tips to help you start:

  1. Apply early, the longer you wait, the less money you may receive.

  2. Meet with a financial aid officer and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

  3. Remember the FAFSA is the door to scholarship money. Meaning, you still have to do the work of applying to them!

  4. On the parent portion of the application, be sure that your mom or dad does not include their retirement assets or their 401 (k) plans.

  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or use additional resources such as: financial aid calculators, checklists and more.

Before you get started with your FAFSA application be sure you (and your parents) have gathered the necessary materials to complete it.  You may use this checklist to assist you!

Get the Checklist


Topics: FInancial Aid

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Deciding where, when and by what means to go to college can be a difficult decision process. We want to help! The Silver Lake Blog is intended to be a resource as you navigate these choices, from what type of school to choose to how to finance your education. Watch this space for helpful tips. 

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