Financial Aid Office

15 to Finish logoFAFSA Changes For 2018-2019

Submit your FAFSA earlier than ever before: You are now able to complete and submit your FAFSA as early as October 1, 2018, for 2019-2020 Federal Financial aid. Before, students had to wait until January 1st each year to submit the application.
Use earlier income information: In order to submit the FAFSA earlier, you will report income from an earlier tax year, called “Prior-Prior Year”. Instead of using the previous year’s tax information (2018), applicants will go back two years to use 2017 income information.

School Year NIC Semesters FAFSA Year Tax Year Used State Priority Date
2017-2018 Fall 2017, Spring and Summer 2018 2017 2015 Varies
2018-2019 Fall 2018, Spring and Summer 2019 2018 2016 Varies
2019-2020Fall 2019, Spring and Summer 202020192017 Varies

  • What are the benefits of an earlier FAFSA?

    • No more estimates or early tax filings required: Previously, many students and families used estimated tax information to submit the FAFSA early, often before taxes were filed. With the Prior-Prior Year change, families will have already filed taxes the year before and are able to use that information to meet early deadlines.

    • Earlier aid awards and better information for decisions: FAFSA submissions, aid awarding, and college decision deadlines were previously crowded together over 3-5 months. Students and families had limited time to make important decisions. By submitting the FAFSA and receiving aid awards earlier, students can make more informed decisions with less stress.

    • Increased ability to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT): With the typical student/family filing taxes months before submitting the FAFSA, more applicants will be able to use the Data Retrieval Tool to transfer 2015 tax information directly into the FAFSA. This allows for quicker FAFSA submissions, fewer errors, and more accurate aid.
  • Why should I apply early?

    Some funding is limited: the priority date for all students for Fall 2017 is February 15, 2017. Submitting your FAFSA by this date allows you to be considered for priority aid including additional scholarships, work-study, additional grants and loans.

    The earlier you apply, the earlier you’ll be notified regarding your financial aid:

    • New students for fall 2017 will have aid awards as early as December available for review.
    • Continuing NIC students for fall 2017 will have aid awards as early as March.

    Visit to submit your 2017-2018 FAFSA after October 1, 2016. Checklists and instructions can help as you submit the FAFSA and apply for scholarships.

  • What if my income or family situation has changed since 2016?

    If you or your family has experienced a change to your financial situation, you will have the opportunity to request a review of your FAFSA through a Special Conditions process. We understand that your 2015 income information may not accurately reflect your current finances.

    You are encouraged to contact our office regarding your specific situation so we may best advise how to request a review.

    Please note, form(s) and documentation are required for any FAFSA changes. Special Conditions forms for 2017-2018 will be released in early 2017.

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