Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form used by the U.S, Department of Education to collect information and determine an applicant’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC) by conducting a “needs analysis” based on the applicant’s personal information.

For a FAFSA overview, please click on the following link: https://youtu.be/gUis5lityCQ

Students may choose any of these three methods to file a FAFSA:

  • Login to apply online (Recommended) or
  • Complete a PDF FAFSA (Note: PDF FAFSAs must be mailed for processing) or
  • Request a paper FAFSA by calling us at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or 334-523-2691. If you are hearing impaired, contact the TTY line at 1-800-730-8913.

Big Changes for 2017 – 2018

Starting with the 2017­ – 2018 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), the following changes have been put in place:

Students are now able to submit a FAFSA® earlier.  Students have been able to file a 2017–18 FAFSA since Oct. 1, 2016, rather than beginning on Jan. 1, 2017. The earlier submission date is a permanent change, enabling students to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as Oct. 1 every year. (There is NO CHANGE to the 2016–17 schedule. The FAFSA became available Jan. 1 as in previous years.)

Students now report earlier income information. Beginning with the 2017 – 2018 FAFSA, students are required to report income information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017–18 FAFSA, students (and parents, as appropriate) must report their 2015 income information, rather than their 2016 income information.

The following table provides a summary of key dates for the early FAFSA submission timeframe and reporting of earlier tax information:

View Accessible Version

For more details about the changes, you may read the fact sheets called College Students and Parents: What You Need to Know About the 2017­–18 FAFSA® and The 2017–18 FAFSA®: Get Your Dates Straight.

Source:  Federal Student Aid, U.S. Department of Education, https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/about/announcements/fafsa-changes