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  • early fafsa
  • early fafsa
  • early fafsa


Two BIG changes are coming to the FAFSA for the 2017-2018 academic year!

Earlier FAFSA filing

Beginning for the 2017-2018 school year, you will be able to file your FAFSA on October 1, 2016! This change will allow students additional time to complete the FAFSA, compile paperwork, and make decisions about borrowing and budgeting for school. This change is PERMAMENT meaning that EVERY year going forward, you will be able to file the FAFSA beginning October 1 of the prior year.

Use of Earlier Income and Tax Information

The 2017-2018 FAFSA will require tax information from two years prior to the start of the year. With this change, students will have easier access to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA, and should be able to complete the FAFSA without having to wait for taxes to be filed.

The chart below demonstrates how these changes compare to prior years, and how it will impact FAFSA filing going forward:

If you plan to attend
college from
You will submit
this FAFSA
You can submit
the FAFSA from
Using income and tax
information from
July 1, 2015-June 30, 2016
2015-16 January 1, 2015-June 30, 2016
July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017
2016-17 January 1, 2016-June 30, 2017 2015
July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018 2017-18 October 1, 2016-June 30, 2018 2015
July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019 2018-19 October 1, 2017-June 30, 2019 2016

We have put together commonly asked questions about the FAFSA changes to help you navigate through this process. If there is a question you have that we haven't answered, please contact us at and we will be happy to help.

Frequently Asked Questions
When is this FAFSA change effective?


This change begins for the 2017-2018 FAFSA.

What date is the FAFSA available?

October 1 of the year prior to starting (example: October 1, 2016 for the 2017-2018 academic year)

Will this always be how it is?

Yes. From the 2017-2018 FAFSA going forward, the form will always become available in October, and will always use taxes from two years prior.

What taxes should I use on my FAFSA?

The taxes should be from two years prior to the start of the academic year:

  • Academic year: 2017-2018          Taxes: 2015
  • Academic Year: 2018-2019          Taxes: 2016
  • Academic year: 2019-2020          Taxes: 2017
  • Academic year: 2020-2021          Taxes: 2018
Does this mean that we’re using the same tax information two years in a row?

If you are attending in 2016-2017, then yes. Your 2015 tax information will be used for BOTH the 2016-2017 FAFSA and the 2017-2018 FAFSA.

What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is a linking option in the FAFSA that will allow you to pull your tax information directly from the IRS into your FAFSA. This helps eliminate errors and makes completing the FAFSA much faster and easier. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool doesn't work for everyone, so if you've filed foreign tax returns, amended returns, or were victims of identity theft, it won't work for you and you will have to enter your tax information manually.

What if my financial status has changed?

Complete the FAFSA using the information as requested. Once completed, notify our office of the changes in earnings and we will review your FAFSA to see if the changes could impact your eligibility and talk about next steps. We will make any appropriate changes to your FAFSA based on information you provide us.

What materials will I need to complete my FAFSA?

You will need your SSN, tax information as listed above, current bank statements like checking and savings, W-2's, and your FSA ID. If you are a dependent student, you will need all the same information for your parent(s).

What is the FSA ID?

An FSA ID acts as your electronic signature and is linked to your email address. A student and at least one parent (for dependent students) will need an FSA ID, and it can be set up at any time. The FSA ID website is


What if my marital status has changed since I filed taxes?

Complete the FAFSA using the information as requested on the form, then notify our office of your specific situations for instructions and next steps.

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