Have you heard? Big changes are coming that will forever change the financial aid process! For the first time in FAFSA history, students can now complete the FAFSA in the fall AND use tax information from the previous year. These changes will go into effect on October 1, 2016, the day that students and parents can start filling out the FAFSA for the 2017-18 academic year (previously, the FAFSA would not become available until January 1).
To compliment this permanent date change, students (and parents, when applicable) will now use tax information from two years ago (referred to as Prior-Prior Year or PPY) to complete the application. This year, FAFSA applicants will use 2015 tax information, next year, 2016 tax information, and so on. This graphic helps to illustrate these new changes:
If you’ve filled out a FAFSA before with estimated tax information, you know it’s frustrating to then complete a FAFSA correction once you’ve completed your taxes. This new change eliminates that problem; you will already have your completed taxes on hand and you might even be able to use the IRS’s Data Retrieval Tool to automatically import your tax information into your FAFSA.
Submitting the FAFSA earlier will also give you more time to consider each school you’re interested in, and decide whether or not each one is an affordable option for you. Keep in mind that first-come, first-served financial aid will still be in effect, and state and school deadlines may change with this update as well.
Again, this change is coming in five days – now is the time to educate yourself! For further information regarding dates and FAFSA changes, you can check out our previous posts: