Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

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Filing Period for Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

Shifts to Begin on October 1 Nationwide

Access College Foundation will assist Hampton Roads students with new filing requirements, as all are eligible for aid regardless of circumstances

Norfolk, VA – October 1st marks the beginning of the new filing period for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The filing period previously began on January 1st; however this will be a permanent change, enabling students to submit a FAFSA as early as October 1st every year.

The change creates a better alignment between the financial aid and the college application processes, to provide more certainty for students. It means they will not have to estimate income information, and it allows more time for students and parents to explore and understand financial aid options before state and school deadlines.

“The new filing periods will impact millions of students across the country, including those in Hampton Roads,” says Bonnie Sutton, President and CEO of ACCESS College Foundation, a local agency that helps students and parents navigate the college admission and financial aid processes. “But, ultimately, these changes will allow for better evaluation of post-secondary opportunities and understanding of financial processes.”

Access College Foundation has Advisors in each Southside public high school and in Northampton County, who can assist students through the updated process.

“Filling out the FAFSA as soon as possible increases your chances of receiving aid,” says Sutton. “While the priority filing deadlines aren’t until after January 1, 2017, if your school is awarding financial aid or admission on a rolling basis, you are advantaged by having your information in early.”

Additionally, beginning this year, students will be required to report income and tax information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017–18 FAFSA, students will report their 2015 income information, rather than their 2016 information. Since 2015 taxes are already completed, students and parents won’t need to estimate tax information and then go back into the FAFSA later to update it.

Bonnie Sutton, President and CEO of Access College Foundation, is available for both in person and phone interviews. More information is also available at www.accesscollege.org or studentaid.ed.gov.

About Access College Foundation: Founded by local philanthropists Frank Batten, Sr. and Joshua P. Darden, Jr. the Access College Foundation (www.accesscollege.org) provides a path for students who may not have the opportunity to attend and complete college. Access College Foundation, with offices at 7300 Newport Avenue in Norfolk, has leveraged over $500-million in financial aid and scholarships, as well as offered guidance and support, to help over 50,000 students achieve their higher education goals for over 28 years.