You might have heard that there have been some recent changes surrounding the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Last September, President Obama announced a new initiative to simplify the way in which students and families apply for financial aid beginning with the 2017-2018 academic year. Under this initiative, commonly known as Prior-Prior Year (PPY), applicants will be asked to report income and tax information from two years prior (as opposed to one year prior). For instance, when completing the 2017-2018 FAFSA, 2015 income figures are required, rather than 2016. But, that’s not the only change. In addition to reporting income information from a completed tax year, the 2017-2018 FAFSA also became available three months earlier, on October 1, 2016, rather than January 1, 2017.
What does this mean for you? From beginning the financial aid application process sooner to no longer estimating income and tax figures, Prior-Prior Year has a number of benefits for you and your family. These exciting changes are sure to save you time when filing the FAFSA and make it much easier to complete. Be sure to check out our previous post to learn more about PPY and the benefits.
As the financial aid application process is officially underway for the 2017-2018 academic year, we want to share some helpful tips and reminders:
- Complete the FAFSA each academic year. If you completed a 2016-2017 FAFSA, you were asked to provide your 2015 income and tax information. Although the 2017-2018 FAFSA requires income information from the same tax year, you must still submit a renewal or a new FAFSA for 2017-2018.
- Utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. When completing your FAFSA for the 2017-2018 academic year, be sure to take advantage of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This tool allows applicants to electronically transfer their completed 2015 tax information from the IRS to the FAFSA. This not only ensures your FAFSA has accurate income and tax figures but also simplifies the process for you!
- The FAFSA does not need to be updated after completing 2016 taxes. Unlike the FAFSA in previous years, you will not need to use estimates or make updates after filing taxes. The 2017-2018 FAFSA asks for 2015 tax information, which you likely already have. Moving forward, the FAFSA will continue to ask for tax information from two years prior (for example, when completing the 2018-2019 FAFSA, you’ll be required to provide 2016 tax figures).
- Submit your FAFSA as soon as possible. As the FAFSA is currently available for the 2017-2018 academic year, there’s no need to wait until January 1! Remember, there are three important deadlines to keep in mind when completing your FAFSA:
- Northeastern University’s priority filing deadline date
- Your home state’s deadline (to check your state’s deadline, click here)
- Federal deadline
If you have questions about Prior-Prior Year (PPY) and the recent changes in the financial aid application process, don’t hesitate to contact us or comment below!