FAFSA To Discuss Changes To Process

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The priority deadline for Free Application for Federal Student Aid is coming up and the Sam Houston State University Financial Aid and Scholarship Office is trying to help students prepare.

The department will host two FAFSA workshops on Feb. 27 at 4 p.m. in the Academic Building IV Room 203 and Feb. 28 at 2 p.m. in the Criminal Justice Center room A111.

The FAFSA application for the 2017-2018 year was open on Oct. 1 this year, instead of Jan. 1 like prior years. The priority deadline remains March 15.

The 2017-2018 year marks the first time the prior-prior year for taxes are used. Students who used 2015 taxes for the 2016-2017 year will use them again.

“We are using two years taxes, so for 2016-2017 students will be using 2015 taxes and then for 2017-2018 students are still using their 2015 taxes,” Financial Aid counselor Lucy Mwanzia said.

Students who already completed the FAFSA are still encouraged to attend. Mwanzia noted that there may be differences within the documents for 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 FAFSAs so assistance with the verification process may be needed.

“For those students who are currently attending SHSU and will be attending in the next year, some of them may have had a difference,” Mwanzia said. “A lot of the students who are submitting for 2017-2018 are seeing that there were some differences in the 2016-2017 and we would correct that in the verification process.”

FAFSA Workshops have not been held during the fall. However, with FAFSA accepting applications in the fall, workshops may be formed next fall.

“That would definitely be something to think about next year,” Mwanzia said. “Since FAFSA has started opening up earlier, we can get those students a lot faster and quicker so we’re not really worrying and rushing towards the end.”

Representatives from the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office will be out in the Lowman Student Center Mall Area on Thursday giving out info on a possible scholarship for students.

“We’re going to be in the mall area next week handing out flyers and getting the word out there,” Mwanzia said. “So if students will come down to the mall area and to ask some questions, we can get them into the drawing to win a $400 scholarship.”

According to SHSU’s policy, student verification deadine is May 15.