The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) has opened for the 2017-2018 school year. This marks a big change, because in previous years, the FAFSA would not be available until January 1st for the next school year. Fort Bend ISD is encouraging students to apply as early as possible.

In addition to the earlier application, students may also use their, and their parents’ or guardians’, tax returns from the year prior for their application. For this year, that would be the 2015 returns. Before the change, FAFSA applications would not be considered complete until taxes had been filed. Since this can be as late as April, it affected many students’ financial aid since many schools award financial aid on a first come, first-served basis. It is possible that students may receive financial award letters much earlier than in previous years due to the earlier application.

FAFSA is a free application and all students are encouraged to apply. To be eligible for federal grants and loans, applications must be submitted by June 30, 2017. Colleges and universities may have earlier deadlines so be sure to check with individual financial aid offices.

“Parents can always contact the College & Career Readiness advisors at the high schools,” says Terry Sheneman, Ed.D, Coordinator of College & Career Readiness. Each campus has an advisor that can aid parents and students with any admissions and financial aid questions. To find your campus advisor, visit the College and Career Readiness page.

Fort Bend ISD will be holding several workshops during the school year to assist anyone needing assistance completing and filing a FAFSA. Financial aid presentations will be held during both College Nights, and workshops dedicated to the FAFSA will be held at the following schools:

–          Kempner High School (14777 Voss Road, Sugar Land, TX 77498), on Tuesday, October 25, 2016, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

–          Hightower High School (3333 Hurricane Lane, Missouri City, TX 77459), on Thursday, February 9, 2017, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

These workshops are open to all FBISD graduating seniors and their parents, regardless of their home campus. The sessions are free, but to attend, you must register.

To apply or to get more information on the FAFSA, visit

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