Early FAFSA is coming for 2017-2018!
In September 2015, President Obama announced a change to the FAFSA affecting when students can apply for college financial aid and which tax year's information is provided. In the past, the FAFSA became available in January for an upcoming academic year. This change releases the FAFSA a full three months earlier.
Beginning for the 2017-2018 academic year, the FAFSA will become available in October. Students and their families will complete the FAFSA using 2015 federal tax information. The use of 2015 taxes for the 2017-18 academic year is referred to as "Prior Prior Year."
Benefits for Students
Tax information has already been filed with the IRS because the FAFSA is asking for older income
- You may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool earlier in the application process
- With three extra months, you may feel less pressure to rush to complete the FAFSA
- Students new to Wheelock College may receive their financial aid awards earlier and have more time to decide where to attend
What This Means for Submitting the FAFSA
Many students will notice that 2015 federal tax information is being submitted two years in a row. That's right! When applying for aid for 2017-18, students can apply early because tax information is already available. Even tax payers who filed a tax extension will now be able to file the FAFSA early. The chart below illustrates which tax year information will be submitted on the FAFSA for the academic year.
|Academic Year||Taxes Used|
Recommended Filing Dates
We recommend filing the FAFSA by December 1st for the upcoming academic year. For example, we recommend filing FAFSA by December 1, 2016 for the fall semester of 2017-18.
This date has been selected to ensure that students have sufficient time to submit all necessary application items and allows time for Student Financial Services to review the application. This early date is particularly important for students who will enroll during the summer term for any given year.
All new students should be sure to complete and submit their FAFSA at the same time they submit their application for acceptance to the college, even if it is after December 1st.
- The U.S. Department of Education blog explains the changes and includes an FAQ section.
- The National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA) Guide to the Data Applicants Must Provide on the FAFSA shows which data elements will likely be affected by the change to prior-year income.
- NASFAA also created this short video explaining the benefits of the change: