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Changes coming to financial aid process

Published or Revised January 13, 2017

The first step to applying for financial aid to any higher education institution is to fill out a FAFSA - Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is the required first step before applying for Pell Grants and scholarships.

Prior to the recent change, applicants had to wait for January to fill out a FAFSA and use the preceding year’s tax returns. Now, those wanting aid for the 2017-2018 school year can fill out a FAFSA as early as Oct. 1, 2016 instead of waiting until January 2017.

“This is called ‘Early FAFSA’ or ‘Prior-Prior Year,’” said PJC Financial Aid Director Linda Slawson. “It means you can use information from the 2015 tax return to fill out the FAFSA instead of waiting to use 2016 tax returns.

“We highly recommend using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), which lets you transfer data directly from your tax return into the FAFSA from the IRS website. You can find the IRS DRT through the FAFSA website by going to fafsa.ed.gov. That will save you time and effort and reduce mistakes.”

Using the IRS DRT also means an applicant won’t need to provide tax transcripts to the Financial Aid Office if the student is selected for federal Verification.

Need more information? Contact the PJC Financial Aid Office at 903-782-0429.

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