What’s New on the 2015-16 FAFSA?

What you need to know before you file your FAFSA in 2015.

By Kathryn Knight Randolph

December 02, 2014

What’s New on the 2015-16 FAFSA? What’s New on the 2015-16 FAFSA?

The FAFSA for next school year will be released on January 1. All students, especially those that hope to benefit from financial assistance, need to complete the form as soon as possible after this date. Even if you didn’t qualify for financial aid last year, it’s still vital that you complete the form this year.

For those of you who did complete the form last year, it’s important to keep in mind that this year’s application will be slightly different. Knowing ahead of time the changes to the application will enable you to be better prepared and less overwhelmed.

New Login Process for All Applicants:

• Applicants will no longer need to submit personal information like Social Security Number, Name and Date of Birth to login to the various Federal Student Aid systems. Rather, all applicants will be assigned an FSA ID. This will better protect all applicants and their information. The FSA ID will function like a username and password.

For Pacific Islander Applicants:

• Assignment and use of a permanent pseudo Social Security number from any previous application cycle to help Pacific Islander applicants apply easily each year.
• Easier, more user-intuitive login for applicants from the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Palau.

For Applicants in Foster Care:

• Identification and notification of financial aid programs for those applicants who currently are or were in foster care, like the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program and the Education and Training Voucher (ETV) Program.
• Watch for questions on both the paper and web version of the FAFSA that ask about foster care.

Updated Definition for Parent:

• A person that the state has determined to be a legal parent.
• Widowed stepparents are not considered legal parents on the FAFSA unless they have legally adopted the applicant.

Updated Definition of Separated Parents:

• Spouses legally separated by the state or spouses that are married but are living in separate households are classified as “Divorced or Separated” on the FAFSA.
• Spouses that are separated but are still living together must indicate “Married or Remarried” on the FAFSA.

For a more detailed look at next year’s FAFSA changes, go directly to the source: ifap.ed.gov.

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