FAFSA Changes Beginning 2017-2018
Students applying for financial aid for 2017–18 will be able to submit the FAFSA beginning October 1, 2016. In addition to an earlier FAFSA availability date, the requirements for reporting income information are also changing. Currently, FAFSA applicants provide income information from the “prior tax year.” For example, 2016–17 applicants must report 2015 income information. Beginning with 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 accurate income information imported electronically from the IRS, using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). Increased use of the IRS DRT should almost eliminate the use of income estimates and the tendency to delay filing a FAFSA due to waiting until the previous year’s tax return has been filed.