Students will now be able to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as Oct. 1, three months earlier than before.
The earlier submission date is a permanent change, according to a press release from the University of Florida Office for Student Financial Affairs. In the past, students had to wait until Jan. 1 to submit a FAFSA.
Students will also be required to report income information from an earlier tax year. Students who apply for a FAFSA for the 2017-2018 academic year will have to report income information from 2015 as opposed to 2016, according to the release.
Rick Wilder, director of Student Financial Affairs at UF, said the university’s on-time priority deadline is Dec. 15.
“Financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis so students should apply as early as possible to be considered for the most, and best aid,” Wilder said in the release.
High school seniors who file a FAFSA close to Oct. 1 will know about their expected family contributions earlier, which can be useful when comparing universities. Though students must be accepted for enrollment before being considered for financial aid, they should apply for financial aid before being admitted.
To apply for financial aid, visit www.fafsa.gov.