If you or your child are heading to college next year, you may be wondering what kind of financial aid is out there to use. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is the official form that the government uses to determine eligibility. Before you do that, take some time to learn about some new aspects and features to the 2019-2020 FAFSA.

Revised deadline may mean more money for you

Last year, the new deadline for filing a FAFSA application moved from the changing of the calendar to October 1st. This gives families an opportunity to get their application in as soon as possible to schools they are considering.

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FAFSA money is awarded on a first-come, first served basis so giving students a chance to get information in earlier to the schools of their choice is a big advantage.

Use earlier tax records than before

Last year, the government allowed applicants to use their completed tax records from a previous year and that new feature is still in place. For example, in 2018, for the 2019-2020 FAFSA, applicants would submit federal income tax paperwork from 2017.

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This was a change from the previous requirement of the most current tax year estimate. The change allows applicants to provide a filed tax return instead of estimating, then having to make adjustments for any changes or errors.

Do your FAFSA anywhere with the new app

In an effort to make the intimidating FAFSA application process more convenient, the government has introduced an app version of the form, called “myStudentAid.” It allows you to manage your forms and your account from a mobile device.

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Because more than half of all high school seniors apply for FAFSA, the goal is to make it easier for those who may not have access to a computer. The app became available October 1, 2018.