The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid is every college student’s best friend. This is the primary form the federal government, states and colleges use to give grants, scholarships and/or loans. You can fill out the application for free at fafsa.ed.gov. Two changes will be made this year, one being the form for each year will become available three months earlier than it had previously been. FAFSA applications will start in October instead of January. You can access the FAFSA for the 2017-18 school year on Oct. 1, 2016. Another change is that families will be able to fill out the application using the information from 2015’s taxes instead of the taxes from 2016. FAFSA does have a deadline which is different for everyone. States and individual college deadlines fall as early as November 2016. The federal deadline for the 2017-18 FAFSA isn’t until June 30, 2018, but everyone should plan to submit the form as close to Oct. 1, 2016, as possible because some financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.