New for 2017-2018

May 12, 2017:

2017-2018 Interest rates on Federal Direct Student Loan:
Federal Undergraduate Direct Student Loans will be 4.45%
Federal Graduate Direct Student Loans will be 6%
Federal parent PLUS and Federal graduate PLUS loans will be 7%

March 30, 2017:

To protect sensitive taxpayer data, the IRS and FSA announced the Data Retrieval Tool on and will be unavailable until extra security protections can be added. While they are working to resolve these issues as quickly as possible, students and families should plan for the tool to be offline until the start of the next FAFSA season.

Options Remain Available for Students, Parents and Borrowers

While the Data Retrieval Tool is unavailable, FSA and the IRS remind applicants that online applications are still available and are operable.

The income information needed to complete the FAFSA and apply for an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan can be found on a previously filed tax return.

Students and parents completing a 2016–17 and 2017–18 FAFSA should manually enter 2015 tax information (not 2016).

If a copy of the tax return is not readily available, the applicant may access a summary of a previously filed tax return, called a tax transcript, which may be viewed and downloaded from at Get Transcript Online, with the proper identity verification. Additionally, Get Transcript by Mail can be accessed online, or the taxpayer can call 1-800-908-9946, and a transcript will be delivered to the address of record within five to 10 days.

October 1, 2016:

The 2017-2018 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the 2017-2018 Texas Application for State Financial Aid are available.

Who completes the 2017-2018 FAFSA at ?

Students who are U.S. citizens, permanent residents of the U. S. or Eligible Noncitizens are able to complete the FAFSA to establish eligibility for federal AND state financial aid.

Who completes the 2017-2018 TASFA at College for all Texans?

Students who are NOT U.S.citizens, permanent residents of the U.S. or Eligible Noncitizens but are classified as a Texas resident and are eligible to pay the Texas in-state tuition rate.

What income year do you use?

In completing the 2017-2018 FAFSA / 2017-2018 TASFA you will use calendar 2015 income!

All financial aid applicants will use the 2015 tax year to complete the 2017-2018 FAFSA. Since the deadline to file income taxes for 2015 was back on April 15, 2015 or October 1, 2015 for those who requested an extension to file for 2015, there should be no problem to get the income information to complete the FAFSA or the TASFA.

And that is the one reason why the Department of Education was given the authority to change income data from two years prior to when the academic year starts.

Does this mean 2017-2018 financial aid will be awarded earlier?

No. The priority deadline for 2017-2018 still remains March 15th.

No. The federal government will not have the Pell Grant chart nor allocations available until much later in the 2016 year.

No. The state of Texas will not have state allocations for state grant programs until next year in 2017.

How does this affect a financial aid application if the Department of Education selects it for verification?

Verification of income data is easier since the 2015 data comes directly from the IRS into the FAFSA.  But if you are not able to use the IRS Data Retrieval System for whatever reason, the IRS Tax Return Transcripts for 2015 are available.

If the financial aid applicant and/or parents and/or financial aid applicant’s spouse did not file a 2015 income tax return but reported wages on the FAFSA/TASFA, each person who completes a FAFSA / TASFA must request directly from the IRS a Verification of Non-filing Letter for 2015. There are no exceptions to this rule.

What happens if the 2017-2018 FAFSA shows 2015 data that is different from that reported on the 2016-2017 FAFSA?

The Department of Education will be monitoring the 2015 data on each of these FAFSAs. Even if the 2017-2018 FAFSA is not selected for verification, if a difference on the FAFSAs is noted, the Department of Education will alert the school a difference occurred. The school will be required to follow up with the applicant why the difference and will require verification to occur; what documents will be needed will depend on what the difference are. Even if the application has been verified new data elements may be required by the Department of Education.