FAFSA Changes 2017-2018

There are many revisions to the timeline and tax information related to your filing of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in 2017-18. Pitt-Johnstown Financial Aid provides the following information to help you better understand the process.

  • Earlier submission of your FAFSA: Your FAFSA will be available to file as of October 1 of every year, rather than the previous availability date of January 1. So, you will be able to file your 2017-18 FAFSA as early as October 1, 2016.
  • Prior-Prior Year Tax Information: Starting with the 2017-18 FAFSA, students and their parents will be required to report tax information from the prior-prior year of the corresponding academic year. For example, students and their parents will report their 2015 income and tax information for the 2017-18 academic year.

The following table provides a summary of key dates as we transition to using the early FAFSA submission timeframes and earlier tax information.

Academic Year of Attendance

When to Submit a FAFSA

Which Year’s Income and
Tax Information is Required

July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017

January 1, 2016-June 30, 2017


July 1, 2017-June 30, 2018

October 1, 2016-June 30, 2018


July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019

October 1, 2017-June 30, 2019


How will the changes benefit me?

  • No More Tax Estimations: Because you will be reporting older tax information on your FAFSA, your tax information that is required should already be filed with the IRS. You will have the exact figures to enter into the FAFSA, so you will not have to go back into the FAFSA later to update it.
  • Increase Use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool: Because your taxes will already be filed by the time you complete your FAFSA, you may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to import your tax information directly into your FAFSA. You can learn more information about the IRS Data Retrieval Tool at www.StudentAid.gov/irsdrt.

Will FAFSA deadlines be earlier since the application is launching earlier?

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown institutional priority deadline will remain April 1. So, the priority deadline for the 2017-18 FAFSA will be April 1, 2017. For Pennsylvania residents, the FAFSA filing deadline for the PHEAA State Grant Program will remain May 1, 2017.

Since the 2017-18 FAFSA asks for the same tax and income information as the 2016-17 FAFSA, will my 2016-17 FAFSA information automatically be carried over into my 2017-18 FAFSA renewal?

No, because too much information could have changed since you filed your last FAFSA. There is no way to predict what might be different. You will need to enter your tax and income information again on the 2017-18 FAFSA. However, keep in mind that many people will be eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically import their tax information into the FAFSA, making the process of reporting tax information quick and easy.

Can I choose to report 2016 information if my family’s financial situation has changed since our 2015 taxes were filed?

No, you must report the information the FAFSA asks for. For the 2017-18 FAFSA, the 2015 tax and income information must be entered, even if there has been a change in your family’s income. To report a substantial income change since the 2015 tax year, please contact the Financial Aid Office at upjaid@pitt.edu or 814-269-7045.