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Early FAFSA and IRS Data Retrieval Process

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IMPORTANT MESSAGE REGARDING THE USE OF THE DATA RETRIEVAL TOOL (DRT): Department of Education has stated that the DRT is not expected to be ready for use until October 2017 updated April 14, 2017

The Department of Education announced that while traditionally the FAFSA filing cycle begins on January 1 of the year preceding  the award/academic year, beginning with the 2017-2018 FAFSA cycle, the application will become available  to students and their families three months earlier on October 1, 2016. 

Click to watch and find out "What's New in Financial Aid for 2017-2018"

Beginning with the 2017-2018 cycle, the FAFSA will collect income information from the tax/calendar year one year earlier than has been used in the past.  What this means is that for the 2017-2018 FAFSA, students and families will need to use their 2015 tax information rather than their 2016 tax information.

What You Need to Know About the 2017-2018 FAFSA

FAQ's About the 2017-2018 FAFSA

  • Will my 2016-2017 FAFSA information be carried over onto the 2017-2018 FAFSA?  If you choose the Renewal FAFSA option when you start your application at, some basic information from your 2016-2017 FAFSA will be perpopulated in your 2017-2018 FAFSA.  However, your tax and income information will not.
  • Can I choose to report 2016 information if my family's income has dropped significantly since we filed 2015 taxes?  No.  You must report 2015 tax and income information, as the FAFSA requires.  If your family's financial situation has changed dramatically since then, you should complete the FAFSA questions as required, submit the FAFSA, then contact the Financial Aid Office.
  • Do I report my 2015 tax and income information on the 2017-2018 FAFSA now, and then update it once I've filed my 2016 taxes?  No.  Do not update after filing your taxes.  The 2017-2018 asks for 2015 information.
  • What if my parents' (or my) marital status has changed since we filed 2015 taxes?  How do we supply tax and income information on the FAFSA?  The FAFSA asks for marital status "as of today" (the day it's filled out).  So if the student or parent is married now but wasn't in 2015 (and therefore didn't file taxes as married), the spouse's income will need to be added to the FAFSA.  Similarly, if the student or parent filed 2015 taxes as married but is no longer married when filling out the FAFSA, the spouse's income will need to be subtracted.  And if the student or parent was married when filing 2015 taxes, then got divorced and is now married to someone else, there's a bit more math to do: subtract the ex's income, then add the new spouse's income.