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The FAFSA is open October 1 this year

The FAFSA opens October 1 this year

The FAFSA opens early this year! Start applying on October 1st, as it’s first-come, first-served. The Federal Student Aid office provides more than $150 million in grants, work-study funds and loans each year – apply early to see if you qualify.

FAFSA is a term that should every student and parent should know. It stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and it could make a difference in what you're paying for education.

The FAFSA is how you apply for federal student aid, which includes Pell Grants, federal student loans and work-study opportunities – these can be applied for college, career school or graduate school.

Additionally, FAFSA information is used by many colleges, states, private organizations and career schools to determine eligibility for non-federal student aid, such as awards and private scholarship programs.

It's important to note that FAFSA grants and loans are first-come, first-served. They're disbursed until the money is gone. That means that the earlier you complete the FAFSA, the better.

In the past, the application opened in January for the coming year. That's changing this year.

Students can now file a 2017-2018 FAFSA as early as October 1st, 2016. 

There are a few reasons for this change, according to the Federal Student Aid office:

  • Better alignment with the college admission process timelines
  • Certainty of income and taxes paid (no waiting for tax returns or estimating)
  • Less pressure for students and parents to explore and understand financial aid options before state deadlines

The October submission date is a permanent change as of 2016.

BECU has teamed up with AARP  to bring you “MoneySmarts.” MoneySmarts will provide seniors and not-so-seniors with monthly financial tips and solutions through 2016 to help us maintain and manage our hard-earned money. Topics will range from how to maneuver through the grocery aisles without impulse purchases to tips on college savings and student loans.

To learn more and register for four free MoneySmarts events around the state of Washington, click here.