New 2017-2018 Financial Aid Application Timeline

Earlier FAFSA availability for 2017-2018!

In September 2015, President Obama announced a change to the FAFSA affecting when students can apply for college financial aid and which tax year information is provided. Beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year, the FAFSA will become available October 1. This earlier availability date will be a permanent change and the FAFSA will be available October 1 every year moving forward.

Income and tax information required on the FAFSA

The other change to the FAFSA is that students and their families will complete the FAFSA using 2015 income and tax information. This is referred to as “Prior-Prior Year.” The table below illustrates which tax year information will be submitted on the FAFSA for the academic year.

Academic Year Taxes Used
2016-2017 2015
2017-2018 2015
2018-2019 2016
2019-2020 2017

Student Benefits

  • For most students and families, there will no longer be the need to estimate income and tax information because the tax information will already have been filed with the IRS.
  • Most students and families will be able to utilize the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, thus making the completion of the FAFSA quicker and easier.

CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE

The CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE is available starting October 1.

Costs of Submitting a CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE

The cost of submitting a PROFILE report to one college is $25 and each additional report costs $16. Domestic students who are completing the PROFILE for the first time and have used an SAT fee waiver can receive up to eight PROFILE fee waivers. To qualify, students must log in to PROFILE using the same account used for the SAT. Students who did not use an SAT fee waiver may still qualify for a PROFILE fee waive based on income.

The Process

There are three easy steps to submitting the PROFILE:

  1. Register
    • Create a College Board online account
    • Go to CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE and follow the instructions
  2. Complete the application
    • Have tax records and financial documents handy
    • Use the pre-application worksheet to save time
    • Enter the required information
  3. Submit the application
    • Enter payment information and press Submit


IDOC will now be available in early November. Students will be notified if required to submit documents via IDOC. The IDOC tutorial provides helpful tips for completing the IDOC process.

Frequently Asked Questions

The FAFSA for 2017-2018 academic year can be completed beginning October 1, 2016. Please see applications and deadlines for the priority filing dates.

Completing a FAFSA should be easier, more efficient and more accurate.

New, accepted first-year students will receive financial aid packages that are more accurate since students can now complete the FAFSA earlier (as early as October 1).

Completing a FAFSA should now become easier, more efficient and more accurate.

Returning students will have an overlap year when it comes to tax information being used on the FAFSA. This means that the tax information that was provided in the 2016-2017 FAFSA will also be required to file a 2017-2018 FAFSA. It will be important, however, that the 2015 tax information entered on your 2016-2017 FAFSA matches what you enter on your 2017-2018 FAFSA; otherwise, the Office of Financial Aid will have to contact the student to resolve any discrepancies. Conflicting data between the two academic years could result in the loss of need-based financial aid for the 2016-2017 academic year and required repayment by the student of any disbursed federal and/or state financial aid.

Returning students from the 2016-2017 academic year will be using 2015 tax information for two years in a row. The 2017-2018 academic year is the only time this will occur.

No, students should not expect their financial aid to remain the same.

Financial aid awards based on the same income information may be similar from one year to the next; however, there are other factors that go into calculating the need analysis. These other factors could affect financial aid in future years. Other factors include but are not limited to: change in household size and number in college, change in reported assets, etc.

No. While some data elements will ask for 2015 tax income and tax information, there are other data elements that are to be reported as of the date the applicant signs the FAFSA. Review this guide to see which data elements require which timeframe of information.

No. Students and families must report the information that the FAFSA asks for. Please read questions carefully and answer them accurately as requested.

Any time that a family’s financial situation has changed significantly from the base year information that was provided on the FAFSA, the student must notify the Office of Financial Aid. We will ask the student to provide additional documentation of any change in circumstances.

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows tax return data to be automatically populated into the FAFSA. This significantly decreases the need for additional documentation. It cuts down on the need to make corrections to the completed FAFSA which, in turn, reduces future adjustments to a financial aid package.

First year applicants will receive their financial aid award letter with their admission decision, if their financial aid file is complete for packaging.

Returning students will receive their financial aid award letter in late spring after their financial aid file has been completed.