January 1 is the first day you can apply for financial aid for the upcoming year. Anyone considering attending college during the 2016-2017 academic year (which begins next fall), should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online as early as possible at www.fafsa.gov.
March 1 is our priority FAFSA filing date; although the earlier you apply, the better your chances are to be offered certain types of limited funds. Many tax filers are able to view and transfer their tax information into the FAFSA. This process, called the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT), is an easy and convenient way to provide tax information in just a few simple steps. Students and parents can begin to use this process in February if they have filed their federal tax return online at least two weeks earlier, and paid any tax due. Students who are able to use the IRS DRT are less likely to be selected for verification, which can cause delays in being awarded.
Although using the IRS DRT is preferred, if you are unable to file your taxes until after March 1, we strongly suggest that you file your FAFSA early using your best estimates. Once your taxes are filed (2-3 weeks after you file your taxes electronically or 6-8 weeks if you file through the mail,) the information should be available for you to go back and correct your FAFSA data using the IRS DRT.
You are also encouraged to visit our website, www.financialaid.uwm.edu for helpful information about the financial aid process. You can receive answers to most questions 24/7 by submitting them to “Ask the Panther” . You can also contact us via email or telephone with your questions.
Please continue to watch your email for additional information on the 2016-2017 financial aid process!