The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is changing in two ways beginning with the 2017-18 award year:
- The FAFSA will be available three months earlier than previously; for the 2017-18 award year, that will be on Oct. 1, 2016, rather than on Jan. 1, 2017. The U.S. Department of Education has coined the term “Early FAFSA” for this change.
- The income used on the FAFSA will be from two years prior to the application year (referred to as “Prior-Prior Year”), rather than only one year prior to the application year as is currently the case; for the 2017-18 award year, that will be data from 2015.
Why are these changes important?
Prior-prior year, along with Early FAFSA, will have a positive, long-lasting impact on how students apply for federal aid and make postsecondary decisions.
- By having the FAFSA available earlier, students will be able to complete their federal aid application in the same time frame as their Augusta University admissions application, streamlining the process. Students and their families will have more time to resolve any income verification requirements or supplemental requests from our office.
- By using earlier income data, most families will have their completed tax information available by the time they are ready to apply for financial aid. This will make it easier to complete the FAFSA and increase the likelihood that families will import their income directly from the IRS using the online Data Retrieval Tool (DRT).
Although we are not certain how soon Ellucian Banner or the U.S. Department of Education will be ready to assist us in finalizing our awards to prospective and returning students, we are excited about the opportunity to start the process sooner!
We encourage your assistance as we work to communicate these changes to our students.