The Big Changes for 2017–18
Starting with the 2017-18 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the following changes have been put in place:
Students are now able to submit a FAFSA earlier. Students have been able to file a 2017–18 FAFSA since Oct. 1, 2016, rather than beginning on Jan. 1, 2017. The earlier submission date is a permanent change, enabling students to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as Oct. 1 every year. (There is NO CHANGE to the 2016–17 schedule. The FAFSA became available Jan. 1 as in previous years.)
Students now report earlier income information. Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, students are required to report income information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017–18 FAFSA, students (and parents, as appropriate) must report their 2015 income information, rather than their 2016 income information.
IRS DATA RETRIEVAL TOOL (DRT) IS DOWN! Students can no longer use the IRS DRT to transfer their tax information from the IRS on to the FAFSA. This tool is expected to be unavailable until at least Fall 2017. All students selected for verification will need to order a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS.
It’s very important that you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) when you’re completing your FAFSA application on-line. The FAFSA’s IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) will allow you to access and transfer your (and your parent’s if you are a dependent student) IRS tax information to your FAFSA. Using the IRS DRT will speed up the financial aid verification process and help prevent conflicting financial information between different award years that can delay your financial aid.
New Requirement for Non-Tax Filers
If the Student (and parents or spouse, as appropriate) did not file taxes, then a “Verification of Non-Filing Letter” must be obtained from the IRS (filers of foreign returns would submit a comparable document). The “Verification of Non-Filing Letter” may be requested online or through a paper 4506-T form. The letter must be dated on or after October 1, 2016, attesting that you, the student (and parents or spouse, as appropriate), did not file a 2015 income tax return.
In addition to the Verification of Non-Filing Letter from the IRS, students (and parents, as appropriate) must also submit a W-2 form for each source of employment income, if applicable. If unable to provide the W-2, you (and parents, as appropriate) should request a replacement W-2 from the employer who issued the original. Also, W-2s can be requested from the IRS. If unable to obtain W-2 in a timely manner, you (and parent, as appropriate) may submit a signed statement that includes the amount of income earned from work, the source of that income, and the reason why the W-2 is not available in a timely manner.
Maximum Pell Grant award will increase from $5,815 to $5,920.00 a year.