FAFSA Changes for 2017-18

August 30, 2016

What’s changing for 2017–18?

Mark your calendars to file a 2017-18 FAFSA starting on October 1, 2016 (In the past, they had to wait until January 1). This earlier date will be a permanent change, enabling students to complete and submit their FAFSA earlier. On the 2017-18 FAFSA, students and parents will report their 2015 income and tax information.  In addition, applicants will no longer need to estimate income and tax information and will be able to retrieve their data directly from the IRS, right from the first day the FAFSA is available. Students also will have information about their Expected Family Contributions earlier, this will streamline your college financial aid process! 

What does “Early FAFSA” mean?


How will the changes benefit me? 

We expect that you’ll benefit in these ways:

  • Because the FAFSA will ask for older income and tax information, you will already have done your taxes by the time you fill out your FAFSA, and you won’t need to estimate your tax information and then go back into the FAFSA later to update it.
  • Because you’ll already have done your taxes by the time you fill out your FAFSA, you may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) to automatically import your tax information into your FAFSA. (Learn about the IRS DRT at StudentAid.gov/irsdrt.)
  • Because the FAFSA is available earlier, you may feel less pressure due to having more time to explore and understand your financial aid options and apply for aid before state and school deadlines.

Where can I get more information about—and help with—the FAFSA? 

Visit StudentAid.gov/fafsa; and remember, as you fill out your FAFSA at fafsa.gov, you can refer to help text for every question and (during certain times of day) chat online with a customer service representative.

More information about FAFSA changes: 2017-18-fafsa-updates-students-parents.pdf2017-18 FAFSA Updates for students and parents