What are the changes to the 2017-18 FAFSA?
- Ability to complete the FAFSA earlier – you will be able to complete your 2017-18 FAFSA three months earlier than was available previously. The FAFSA will be available on October 1, 2016, rather than January 1, 2017.
- The income you provide on the FAFSA – previously, you had to provide the prior year’s tax return information when completing the application. Starting with the 2017-18 FAFSA, you will be providing your income data from 2015, which is two years prior to the application deadline. Of note – this is the same tax information you used on your 2016-17 FAFSA.
What does this mean for you?
- No need to estimate income - you won’t need to estimate your taxes on the FASFA, as you will already have filed your 2015 tax return with the IRS. This will make completing the FAFSA easier, and will make it likely that you can import your 2015 taxes directly into the FASFA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT).
What do we need you to do?
- Update your 2016-17 FAFSA today! – because the 2016-17 and the 2017-18 FAFSA will both be using the information from your 2015 tax return, we highly recommend that you ensure your 2016-17 FAFSA is correct. Please log back into your 2016-17 FAFSA at your earliest convenience if you haven’t already done so to check the accuracy of what was reported. If this is not done, and there are any discrepancies in your AGI, or other income components, when we review your 2017-18 FAFSA, it may affect your financial aid retroactively for 2016-17.
- NOTE: If you have been approved for a special circumstance and we have updated your financial information to reflect the 2016 tax year, DO NOT go back into your 2016-17 FAFSA to update your data. DO NOT change any data elements within your 2016-17 FAFSA.
What is the deadline to file the FAFSA?
- The priority FAFSA filing deadline for current students is April 1st.
- The review process for financial aid begins after the end of the Spring semester and after Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) has been determined. Students must be making SAP in order to receive federal (and most institutional) funds. Financial aid award notification emails will be sent to returning students during the first few weeks in July.
- Students are notified of missing documentation on a recurring basis via their Merrimack student email account. Students whose applications/documents are incomplete or who must complete the verification process will be sent an award notification upon submission of all materials.
- Students must remain at least half-time to be eligible for Direct loan funding. Half-time for undergraduate students is a minimum of 8 credits per semester.
For More Information
Office of Financial Aid
315 Turnpike Street
North Andover, MA 01845