Important Changes to FAFSA: Prior Prior Year & Early Start

Posted by U.S. Department of Education on October 3, 2016

There are two major changes coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) process this year. First, the 2017-18 FAFSA will be available to students and families earlier. Students can file on October 1, 2016, rather than on January 1, 2017. Second, starting with the 2017-18 FAFSA, students will use previous income and tax information. For example, students – and their parents, as appropriate – will report their 2015 income and tax information, rather than their 2016 income and tax information. How will these changes benefit students? On the front end, students will no longer have to use estimates or log in later to update their FAFSA after filing taxes, and they may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically import tax information into their FAFSA. On the back end, students will have additional time to meet most deadlines and explore and understand their financial aid options. Students can already obtain their FSA ID, which you can learn more about in this video.

Department officials have been answering back-to-school comments and questions about the FAFSA via social media platforms – here is a sampling of some of the most popular tweets with agency responses.

Also, the Department’s partners have advice for counselors as they organize events and prepare to help students and parents through the financial aid process. Here are creative ways to make the process fun.

Students can also text “COLLEGE” to 44044 to receive important reminders about financial aid and FAFSA filing.

For more federal student aid information and outreach tools, register for a FAFSA webinar, join the FAFSA email distribution list, and check out the Department’s Financial Aid Toolkit.

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