Early FAFSA and Prior-Prior Year
Submit a FAFSA Earlier
Students will be able to file a 2017-18 FAFSA as early as Oct. 1, 2016, rather than beginning on Jan. 1, 2017. The earlier submission date will be a permanent change, enabling students to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as October 1 every year. This means that students who complete the 2017-18 FAFSA will be able to submit the form anytime between Oct. 1, 2016, and June 30, 2018.
Use Earlier Income Information
Beginning with the 2017-18 FAFSA, students will report income information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017-18 FAFSA, students (and parents, as appropriate) will report their 2015 income information, rather than their 2016 income information. Currently, FAFSA applicants provide income information from the "prior tax year." For example, 2016-17 applicants must report 2015 income information. The 2017-18 FAFSA applicants will provide income information from one tax year earlier-the "prior-prior" year. This means that the 2017-18 FAFSA will collect 2015 income information. As a result of this change, more students and families will be able to complete their FAFSA using income information imported electronically from the IRS, using our IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT), rather than submitting applications with income estimates that may need correcting, or worse, waiting until the previous year's tax return has been filed.
Key Dates For Early FAFSA Submission Timeframe and Earlier Tax Information
|IF YOU PLAN TO ATTEND COLLEGE FROM||YOU WILL SUBMIT THIS FAFSA||YOU CAN SUBMIT THE FAFSA FROM||USING INCOME AND TAX INFORMATION FROM|
|JULY 1, 2015 - JUNE 30, 2016||2015-16||JANUARY 1, 2015 - JUNE 30, 2016||2014|
|JULY 1, 2016 - JUNE 30, 2017||2016-17||JANUARY 1, 2016 - JUNE 30, 2017||2015|
|JULY 1, 2017 - JUNE 30, 2018||2017-18||OCTOBER 1, 2016 - JUNE 30, 2018||2015|
|JULY 1, 2018 - JUNE 30, 2019||2018-19||OCTOBER 1, 2017 - JUNE 30, 2019||2016|
FAFSA Changes Impact
Recent research and the Department of Education's own data suggest that implementing an earlier start date and using earlier income information will benefit students. Benefits include
(a) alignment- the financial aid application process may be more aligned with the college admission process,
(b) certainty-applicants will not need to estimate income or taxes paid, and
(c) less pressure-more time for students and parents to explore and understand financial aid options and apply for aid before state deadlines.