Student financial aid changes: What you should know - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Student financial aid changes: What you should know

(Source: KFVS) (Source: KFVS)

If you have a graduating senior in high school or a student in college, you need to know about new financial aid rules for the 2017-2018 school year.

Federal Student Aid or FAFSA – it’s the direct way college students across the nation gets financial aid and scholarships.

In the past, students had to wait until January 1 to fill out the form.

This year, new rules allow students to start completing the financial aid packet on October 1

“Starting it earlier should take off some pressure,” counselor Susan Brown said.

Tina Wilkins and Susan Brown are counselors at Poplar Bluff High School.

“It’ll make a big difference and with our early graduates that graduate after the first semester," Wilkins said. "It's always difficult to get information to them to get them to come back in to do things like the FAFSA. So that’ll be a lot easier because they’ll still be here with us.”

Another change: students will be allowed to use their parents completed tax returns from the previous year.

Three Rivers Financial Aid Counselors said this will stop students having to wait on their parents to file their current year taxes.

“Typically everyone has their tax returns filled out at this time of year," Danielle McFadden said. "So they can take their time and they don’t have to fill it out by October first, February first is the Missouri deadline this year.”

Tori Travers plans to attend Mizzou once she graduates in 2017. She said the new rules will make her transition into college more smooth.

“For me being a planner and a very organized person, the FAFSA opening earlier is just one more thing that I can check off," Travers said. "My mother and I can get it done before I graduate even, it’s super exciting.”

To fill out the FAFSA, click here.

If you need help with your FAFSA, Three Rivers will be holding a "FAFSA Frenzy" on Nov. 6  from 2-4 p.m. in Room 204 of the Westover Building, located on their main campus in Poplar Bluff.

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