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On September 13, 2015, President Obama took executive action to allow the use of prior-prior year (PPY) tax information on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) - a move long called for by the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) and others in the higher education community. The terms 'Early FAFSA' and 'Prior-Prior Year' will be used interchangeably in reference to this initiative.   

Please take a moment to view the Prior-Prior Year Introductory Video, courtesy of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA).

 

Beginning with the 2017-2018 award year: 

     - The FAFSA will be available three months earlier than previously allowed: October 1.

     - The income used on the FAFSA will be from two years prior to the application year ("Prior-Prior Year"). 

The following table provides a summary of key dates as we transition to using the early FAFSA submission timeframe and earlier tax information: 

When a Student is Attending College
                 (School Year) 
When a Student Can Submit a FAFSA  
Which Year's Income & 
 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

 

FAQs

What's changing for 2017-2018?

For 2017-2018, you will be able to file your FAFSA as early as October 1, 2016 rather than January 1, 2017. The earlier submission date will be a permanent change, enabling you to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as October 1 every year. 

You will also use earlier income and tax information. On the 2017-2018 FAFSA, you and your parent(s) (if applicable) will report your 2015 income and tax information, rather than your 2016 income and tax information. 

How will the changes benefit me?

Because the FAFSA will ask for older income and tax information, you will already have done your taxes by the time you fill out your FAFSA, and you won't need to estimate your tax information and then go back into the FAFSA later to update it. 

Because you'll already have done your taxes by the time you fill out your FAFSA, you may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) to automatically import your tax information into your FAFSA. Click here for a video tutorial on using the IRS DRT.

Because the FAFSA is available earlier, you may feel less pressure due to having more time to explore and understand your financial aid options and apply for aid before your state's and school's deadlines. 

Can I choose to report 2016 information if my family's financial situation has changed since 2015 taxes were filed?

No. You must report the information the FAFSA asks for. If your family's income has substantially changed since the 2015 tax year, talk to the financial aid office at your school about your situation. 

Note: The FAFSA asks for marital status as of the day you fill it out. So, if you're married now but were not in 2015, you'll need to add your spouse's income to your FAFSA. 

Since the 2017-2018 FAFSA asks for the same tax and income information as the 2016-2017 FAFSA, will my 2016-2017 FAFSA information automatically be carried over into my 2017-2018 FAFSA?

No. Too much could have changed since you filed your last FAFSA, and there's no way to predict what might be different, so you'll need to enter the information again.