On Sept. 14, 2015, President Obama announced significant changes to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) process that will impact millions of students. Starting with the 2017–18 application cycle, the following changes will be put in place:
The following table provides a summary of key dates as we transition to using the early FAFSA submission timeframe and earlier tax information.
If you’d like more details about the upcoming changes, you may read the fact sheet called College Students and Parents: What You Need to Know About the 2017–18 FAFSA®.
Browse these questions, and visit the FAFSA: Applying for Aid section of our site to learn more about the FAFSA process.
Will deadlines be earlier?
The federal deadline won’t be earlier, but some state and school deadlines will. Most state and school deadlines haven’t changed, but be aware of this: Several states’ deadlines have changed from “as soon as possible after Jan. 1” to “as soon as possible after Oct. 1.” Find state deadlines on the FAFSA and school deadlines on schools’ websites.
Will 2016–17 FAFSA information be carried over onto the 2017–18 FAFSA?
If you choose the Renewal FAFSA option when you start your application at fafsa.gov, some basic information from your 2016–17 FAFSA will be prepopulated in your 2017–18 FAFSA. However, your tax and income information will not. (Too much could have changed in your life since you filled out the 2016–17 FAFSA.)
Can I choose to report 2016 information if my family’s income has dropped significantly since we filed 2015 taxes?
No. You must report 2015 tax and income information, as the FAFSA requires. If your family’s financial situation has changed dramatically since then, you should complete the FAFSA questions as required, submit the FAFSA, then contact the school you plan to attend and discuss your situation with thefinancial aid office.
Do I report my 2015 tax and income information on the 2017–18 FAFSA now, and then update it once I’ve filed my 2016 taxes?
No. Do not update after filing your taxes. The 2017–18 FAFSA asks for 2015 tax information.
Will I receive aid offers from schools earlier if I apply earlier?
Not necessarily; some schools will make offers earlier, and others won’t. And keep in mind that an early offer might be an estimated offer, so read communications from schools carefully.
Start the Application Process at https://fafsa.ed.gov/