U.S. Department of Education Launches 2021-22 FAFSA Cycle

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The U.S. Department of Education released the 2021–22 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form. This launch comes as the Department continues to provide information, tools, and resources to help students make informed decisions about their education options.

Students and parents can easily complete the form via fafsa.gov on a desktop or mobile device, and this year, enhanced help topics provide even more guidance through the form. As a result of user feedback, many financial help topics on fafsa.gov now feature images of the forms with relevant line numbers visually highlighted to help applicants navigate the FAFSA form. Additionally, skip-logic functionality means applicants see only the questions that pertain to them.

The Internal Revenue Service Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) remains the fastest way for applicants to enter tax return information accurately on the FAFSA form. Beginning with the 2021–22 cycle, students and parents eligible to use the IRS DRT can securely transfer their answer to the Schedule 1 question into the FAFSA form.

The Department provides other tools and resources designed to help students complete and submit the FAFSA form and make informed choices. The Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment provides links to College Scorecard, where students can estimate their post-completion starting salary based on the school they plan to attend and the program in which they will enroll. For borrowers with existing loans, the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment outlines how much they owe and how much more they can borrow; grant recipients can see how much they have received and their remaining eligibility. Starting with the 2021–22 award year, the Annual Student Loan Acknowledgment will be required before borrowers can receive a financial aid disbursement.

By the end of the year, the Department will launch an enhanced myStudentAid mobile app. The updated mobile app will have an entirely new look and feel, and additional features, including:

  • A new dashboard that will provide customers with a personalized “home page,” where they can get an overview of their aid, view upcoming loan payments, and access relevant content, resources, and checklists;
  • Aid summary that will allow users to view their detailed loan and grant aid information, aid overpayments, remaining Direct Loan and Pell Grant eligibility, and more; and
  • Important alerts and account updates within the app’s Notification Center.

This year, as a result of the FUTURE Act (a law that facilitates seamless data sharing between the Department and the IRS), the Department also expects to roll out a FAFSA simulator. The simulator will enable the Department to get feedback from students and families about ease of use and clarity of the FAFSA experience as it could exist when the FUTURE Act solution is fully implemented.

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