Changes to the FAFSA for Academic Year 2017-2018
As you may have heard, big changes are coming to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) next year. The FAFSA will be available to students and their families three months earlier than in the past—on October 1 instead of January 1 (October 1, 2016, for the 2017-2018 academic year). This earlier availability of the FAFSA is a permanent change. October 1 will now be the date on which the FAFSA becomes available each year.
Students (and parents, if applicable) will use earlier income and tax information when filing their FAFSA. For example, for the 2017-2018 FAFSA, 2015 income will be required. Students and parents will no longer have to estimate their income information and then update it later once taxes are filed. Additionally, most individuals will be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when they initially complete the FAFSA.
These changes to the FAFSA are being referred to as “Early FAFSA” and “Prior Prior Year.”
Key Dates for Filing the FAFSA
|When a Student is Attending |
College (School Year)
|When a Student Can |
Submit a FAFSA
|Which Year’s Income and Tax
Information is Required
|July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016||January 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016||2014|
|July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017||January 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017||2015|
|July 1, 2017 - June 30, 2018||October 1, 2016 - June 30, 2018||2015|
|July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019||October 1, 2017 - June 30, 2019||2016|
We are excited about these changes as they will make the FAFSA-filing process easier. We also hope these changes will give students more time to explore and understand their financial aid options. This additional time and information should help students and their families feel less pressure and more informed as they make significant decisions regarding college.
Early FAFSA Resources
These tools may be helpful as you guide your students and families. Downloads are .pdf files unless otherwise specified.
FAME Resources (Downloads)
FAME offered FAFSA trainings this summer. If you missed the trainings, here are some helpful resources we used:
- Early FAFSA Summer Training Presentation
- Determining Dependency Status Presentation
- FSA ID Challenges and Resolutions Presentation
- Dependency Status (Federal Student Aid Infographic) (.png file)
- Title IV Dependency Determinations for Unaccompanied Homeless Youth
- FAFSA Summer Training Brainstorming Ideas (.docx file)
Federal Student Aid Resources (Downloads)
- Federal Student Aid Resources for the 2017-18 FAFSA
- Counselors and Mentors: What You Need to Know About the 2017-18 FAFSA
- College Students and Parents: What You Need to Know About the 2017-18 FAFSA (can be shared with students and parents)
- 2017-18 FAFSA Talking Points (.doc file)
- 2017-18 FAFSA Messaging and Planning Calendar
National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) Resources (Downloads)
- Counselor Checklist (.xlsx file)
- Admissions Checklist (.xlsx file)
- Admissions Checklist for Financial Aid Professionals
- What Data do Applicants Provide on the FAFSA?
- Recommended Best Practices – Implementation of the Early FAFSA
Other Websites for More Resources:
- College Board
- National Association of College Admissions Counseling (NACAC)
- National College Access Network (NCAN)
Due to Early FAFSA, our full-day Financial Aid 101 event, traditionally held in October in years past, will take place March 24, 2017, at the Augusta Civic Center.
Please contact FAME’s College Access and Financial Education Team if you have questions or concerns regarding Early FAFSA.