What Data do Applicants Provide on the FAFSA?

On September 13, 2015, President Obama announced a change in how and when students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Families will be able to begin completing the FAFSA on October 1, rather than January. This change more closely aligns the financial aid application process with the admission application process. In order to accommodate this earlier filing schedule, the FAFSA will collect income information from two years prior to the academic year for which the aid is intended (Prior-Prior Year), rather than the previous year. The new process begins in October 2016 for the 2017-18 award year. This chart shows which data elements will likely be affected by the change to prior-prior year income on the 2017-18 FAFSA, to the best of NASFAA’s knowledge.

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2017-18 FAFSA
Data Element

Timeframe Used to Provide Information

Is this a change?

Student demographic information (e.g. name, address, phone, citizenship)

As of the date the applicant signs the FAFSA

No

Student’s or parents’ marital status

As of the date the applicant signs the FAFSA

No

Dependency status questions

Dates provided in the questions

No

Household size

2017-18 award year, as known when the applicant signs the FAFSA

No

Number in college

2017-18 award year, as known when the applicant signs the FAFSA

No

Receipt of federally means-tested benefits

Dates provided in the questions

No

Tax return completion status

2015 tax return filing status (prior-prior year)

Yes

Income Data

Adjusted gross income

2015 tax data (prior-prior year)

Yes

Income tax paid

2015 tax data (prior-prior year)

Yes

Income earned from work

2015 tax data (prior-prior year)

Yes

Tax exemptions

2015 tax data (prior-prior year)

Yes

Asset Data

Balance of cash, checking and savings accounts

As of the date the applicant signs the FAFSA

No

Investment net worth

As of the date the applicant signs the FAFSA

No

Business/Investment farm net worth

As of the date the applicant signs the FAFSA

No

Additional Financial Information

Education credits

2015 tax data (prior-prior year)

Yes

Child support paid

2015 calendar year (prior-prior year)

Yes

Taxable earnings from need-based employment programs (e.g. Federal Work-Study)

2015 tax data (prior-prior year)

Yes

Taxable college grant and scholarship aid reported in the AGI

2015 tax data (prior-prior year)

Yes

Combat pay or special combat pay included in the AGI

2015 tax data (prior-prior year)

Yes

Earnings from work under a cooperative education program offered by a college

2015 tax data (prior-prior year)

Yes

Untaxed Income

Payments to tax-deferred pension and retirement savings plans

2015 tax data (prior-prior year)

Yes

IRA deductions and payments to self-employed SEP, SIMPLE, Keogh, etc.

2015 tax data (prior-prior year)

Yes

Child support received

2015 calendar year (prior-prior year)

Yes

Tax exempt interest income

2015 tax data (prior-prior year)

Yes

Untaxed portions of IRA distributions or pensions

2015 tax data (prior-prior year)

Yes

Housing, food, or other living allowances paid to members of the military, clergy and others

2015 tax data (prior-prior year)

Yes

Veterans noneducation benefits

2015 calendar year (prior-prior year)

Yes

Other untaxed income (e.g. workers compensation, disability benefits, etc.)

2015 calendar year (prior-prior year)

Yes

Untaxed portions of health savings accounts

2015 tax data (prior-prior year)

Yes

Money received or paid on the student’s behalf not reported elsewhere on the FAFSA

2015 calendar year (prior-prior year)

Yes

 

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Publication Date: 3/24/2016


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