By Cory Elfrink, director, Columbia College-Rolla

The time has come again. To receive federal student financial aid for the 2022-2023 academic year, current and prospective students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which became available Oct. 1, 2021.

In quite a significant change, FAFSA now takes tax information from two years prior to the academic year students are applying for, rather than a year prior. So, to apply for 2022-2023, you can use your 2020 tax information, rather than estimating for 2021 like in the past.

Actually, submitting your FAFSA is not as bad as worrying about submitting it. All you have to do is go to and complete the online application using Columbia College’s school code, 002456.

This is a fairly simple process. There was once a time when you had to complete the FAFSA through a stack of papers as thick as a phonebook. Trust me, things are much improved! Especially now that you can import previous tax information through the IRS portal. We encourage you to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool that allows you to link your taxes directly from the IRS rather than having to type in the information from your tax forms. This can be a real timesaver and help ensure the accuracy of your data.

Cory Elfrink, director, Columbia College-Rolla
Cory Elfrink, director, Columbia College-Rolla

Try to do this as soon as possible! Be sure to click this link to figure out the priority deadline for applications in your state. Missouri has a deadline of February 1, 2022.

Still haven’t filled out a FAFSA for this current academic year, 2021-22? It’s not too late to apply for that either, but the priority deadline has already passed, so get on this now.

To make sure that your financial aid is in place for the upcoming academic year, all additional documents for financial aid, including verification documents and award letter submission, must be submitted by May 30, 2022.

If you have any questions, please contact Financial Aid at or call (800) 231-2391, ext. 7252. Remember, the sooner you do it, the sooner it’s over!