What You Need to Know About FAFSA Changes for 2017-2018

Starting with the 2017-2018 Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the following changes have been put in place:

  • Students are now able to submit their applications earlier. Filers of the 2017-18 FASFA have been able to file since October 1, 2016, instead of waiting until New Year’s Day. The early submission rules are permanent enabling students to submit as early as October 1st each year.
  • Students now report earlier income information. Beginning with the 2017-18 FASFA, students are required to report income from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017-18 application, students and parents must report their 2015 income information rather than their 2016 income information.

Students and parents will be required to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool available on the FAFSA web site to download tax return data directly from the IRS when filling out the FASFA forms.

For college students looking to enroll for the first time in September of 2017, they need to get moving. The applications are available now. In the past, students and parents had to wait on the completion of their tax return prior to filing. Often estimates were used and refiling was necessary when actual tax returns were filed. Those days are over. As long as all of your returns have been timely filed, the applications can be submitted.