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Motlow State Community College
P.O. Box 8500
Lynchburg, TN 37352-8500
(931) 393-1500

FAFSA Changes All Student and Parents Need to Know

January 17, 2012

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form all students have to submit each year to the Department of Education (DoED) to be considered for federal and/or state funds to attend college. Information collected on the FAFSA is used to determine a student's eligibility for grants, scholarships and loans.

With changes in federal regulations and the focus on accuracy, the DoED has worked with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to make completing the FAFSA faster, easier and more accurate. The process was accomplished by allowing FAFSA filers the option to import IRS data into their application. Students and parents are encouraged to use this option, if possible, to expedite the application process and to ensure their maximum eligibility for federal aid.

While the IRS import is available and needs to be utilized when appropriate, the process requires the 2011 Federal Tax Return to be submitted and accepted by the IRS. With State Grant funds being limited and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, all Tennessee students need to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible on or after January 1 each year.

It is recommended to submit the FAFSA early using estimated federal tax information for students and/or parent(s). Students still considered a dependent under FAFSA rules require both student and parent tax information. Federal income tax returns should be filed as soon as correct forms such as W-2's are received.

After allowing approximately two weeks from the submission date of the federal tax forms, the student and/or parent(s) need to complete the final step and update FAFSA information by importing their IRS tax information into the student's FAFSA form. This last step is crucial. All numbers, names and addresses have to be identical on the student's FAFSA form and the federal income tax form(s).

The first "F" in FAFSA stands for "free." The official DoED FAFSA site to submit your application is There is no charge for submitting all required information on the official DoED FAFSA site. If you are asked to submit payment for filling out or filing a FAFSA form, you are not on the official DoED FAFSA site.

For additional information about the State and the Tennessee Hope Scholarship grants, please visit the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation website