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2017-2018 Changes to the FAFSA

The FAFSA is now available to complete starting October 1st for 2017-2018 school year. The changes to the FAFSA also require students and their parents to use their prior-prior-year (PPY) tax information.

Prior-Prior Year

With the new FAFSA requirements, students and their parents will need to submit their taxes and income information from an earlier tax year. For the 2017-2018 school year, students and their parents will need to submit their 2015 tax and income information.

This change helps reduce uncertainty when filing the FAFSA as students and their parents don’t have to “guess” their income information if their taxes have not been filed yet. This will also help students receive their awards more timely in cases where the student is selected for verification as they don’t have to wait until their taxes are completed to finish the verification process.

Things You Need to Know About the New Procedures

You must use your 2015 taxes when submitting the FAFSA, even if your 2016 taxes are complete. It is very important that the FAFSA is filled out correctly when you submit it. For continuing students, the Central Processing System will compare your new FAFSA with your previous (2016-2017) FAFSA, and if there are differences the system will not accept it. This will create more work for students and their families. If you try to enter 2016 tax information on your FAFSA it will be rejected until it is done correctly.

We have specific procedures if your income is significantly different now than it was in 2015. If students believe their FAFSA information should be professionally reviewed because of a significant income change such as the loss of student’s or parent’s employment, loss of the student’s spouse or parent, an illness or injury that results in high medical bills, and so on, this can be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. There is a Change of Income Form available that students (and their parents, if applicable) can fill out to make income adjustments. Students will need to provide documentation of the financial changes and the forms and the documentation will be professionally reviewed to see if adjustments can be made. Please contact our office to discuss this process before filling out the form. 

Students will not be awarded in October. Although the FAFSA is available to fill out early this year, students will not be awarded as early. We plan to begin awarding incoming freshmen after March 1st. Continuing students will not be awarded until after the spring semester is complete and final grades are in so we can evaluate the student’s academic progress.

The priority deadline is still March 15th. Our priority deadline has not changed from previous years. If the student submits the FAFSA correctly before March 15th, the student could be eligible to receive additional funding.

We have professional staff at SDSU who are here to help you with your FAFSA. If you are having difficulties filling out your FAFSA or have further questions about the new processes, or the change of income processes, feel free to call us, send us an email, or come into our office to meet with someone. We have computers set up in the front of our office for you to use to fill out your FAFSA online. We are available Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm and an appointment is not necessary. Please keep in mind we are often closed on holidays.