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New FAFSA process to benefit students, SIUE officials say


Current and prospective Southern Illinois University Edwardsville students need to be aware of significant changes in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid process.

belobrajdic scottStudents will now begin annually filing their FAFSA on Oct. 1, which is three months earlier than in the past. Beginning Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016, students will file their 2017-18 FAFSA using 2015 income and tax information.

FAFSA determines students’ eligibility for federal, state and institutional aid, including the State of Illinois Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant. The earlier FAFSA submissions have a better chance of receiving MAP.

“It is extremely important that students attending fall 2107, who wish to be considered for the Illinois MAP award, complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1,” said Scott Belobrajdic (left), SIUE associate vice chancellor for enrollment management. “MAP funds, which are awarded to students by the state of Illinois and not SIUE, are distributed by the state based on the date a correct FAFSA is filed. If students wait to file until December, January or February, they may miss out on MAP funding for next year.”

The new FAFSA process is being referenced as Prior-Prior Year. Historically, FAFSA opened Jan. 1, and students used tax information from the year that just ended. The new process allows the use of completed tax information from two years prior to the application year. Students are strongly encouraged to use the Data Retrieval Tool, which imports tax data directly from the IRS into the FAFSA, simplifying the process.

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— From the Illinois Business Journal

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