FAFSA

Prior-Prior Year Income Data for the FAFSA

Beginning in October 2016 (for aid applications for the 2017-18 award year), the White House will allow students to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) using prior-prior year (PPY) tax data. Until the change is implemented, aid applications will continue to use prior-year (PY) tax data.​

What is Prior-Prior Year (PPY)?

 

Prior-Prior Year (beginning 2016 for aid applications for the 2017-18 award year)

Prior-Prior Year (PPY) refers to a policy enabling students and families to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) using tax information from two years ago. For example, a high school senior planning to enroll in college in Fall 2016 would be able to file FAFSA using taxes from 2014.  PPY debuts in October 2016, for aid applications for the 2017-18 award year. This means that the high school class of 2017 will be the first high school cohort to use the PPY FAFSA, and all returning college students in that same year will also use it.
 

Prior-Year (for award years 2015-16 and 2016-17)

Under PY, when students and their families file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), they must complete the form using tax information from the prior year. For example, a high school senior planning to enroll in college in Fall 2016 must file FAFSA using her family's 2015 tax information. The current FAFSA does not become available until January 1, and many families are not able to complete it until closer to April, when federal taxes are due for most filers. The PY FAFSA schedule does not align with the college admission calendar and serves as a deterrent for some students who would otherwise pursue higher education.   

Side-By-Side Comparison

Imagine you are a high school senior planning your college and financial aid application process. Here is how PY and PPY compare:   ​Prior-Year (PY) ​Prior-Prior Year (PPY)
  • ​Available January 1 of Spring semester
  • Use taxes from previous year, which are not due to the IRS until April (for most filers)
  • Requires many filers to estimate taxes early in the process, only to have to correct their data after submitting their final tax information to the IRS
  • Poorly aligned with the college application calendar
  • Creates obstacles for meeting priority filing deadlines, which must be met to qualify for some forms of institutional, state, or federal aid 
  • Could potentially not have financial aid eligibility information until near the college decision deadline, resulting in stressful and less informed enrollment choices
  • ​​Available in October of Fall semester
  • Use taxes from two years ago, which have already been submitted to the IRS last year
  • Enables more filers to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to easily import verified IRS tax returns, reducing the need to later amend the forms
  • Will substantially sync the college application and financial aid application calendars​
  • Removes barriers created by priority filing deadlines, ensuring students have equal opportunity to be considered for all available funds
  • Likely will receive financial aid eligibility information in advance of college decision deadline, encouraging more thoughtful​ and informed enrollment decisions 

Information from NACAC.

 

Nearly every student is eligible for some form of financial aid, including low-interest Federal Stafford and/or parent PLUS loans, regardless of income or circumstances, provided that you:

  •     are a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national or an eligible non-citizen;
  •     have a valid Social Security Number;
  •     have a high school diploma or GED;
  •     are registered with the U.S. Selective Service (if you are a male aged 18-25);
  •     complete a FAFSA promising to use any federal aid for educational purposes;
  •     do not owe refunds on any federal student grants;
  •     are not in default on any student loans; and
  •     have not been found guilty of the sale or possession of illegal drugs during a period in which federal aid was being  received.

Applying for Aid...FAFSA is step #1

 

To be considered for federal financial aid, you must complete and submit a FAFSA. Additionally, most states, colleges and universities use the FAFSA to award other types of institutional financial aid, including state- and college-sponsored financial aid, such as grants, educational loans, and work-study programs.

(Note: In addition to the FAFSA, some states/colleges require additional forms or applications for aid. Check with your school’s financial aid office for any state- and/or school-specific requirements.)
FASFA Deadlines

Many states, colleges and universities have filing deadlines that are much earlier—some occurring as early as the first few weeks in January. Additionally, applicants have to pay particular attention to deadline specifics, as some refer to the date by which individual FAFSAs must be submitted (Transaction Receipt Date), while others refer to the date by which individual FAFSAs must be fully processed (completed by the federal processor and made available to the school financial aid office).

IMPORTANT: We strongly encourage all students to check with their school’s financial aid office to determine their exact FAFSA deadline requirements, and to file their FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1st.

(Note: Student Financial Aid Services maintains a comprehensive database of individual state and school filing deadlines as a convenience to our clients, and offers special assistance to late filers, including those facing impending deadlines. See FAFSA Deadlines for details.)


 

For those of you who are high school seniors and will be attending college in the fall, the application deadline for the 2016-2017 Rhode Island State Grant program is March 1, 2017.


The only application required for the State Grant program is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), which must be completed online at www.fafsa.ed.gov.

 

Additional information on the Rhode Island State Grant program is available online at RI Award Program.