What is Prior-Prior Year?

2016 brings changes to how you'll apply for 2017 federal aid

What is Prior-Prior Year?

Prior-Prior year is a new policy implemented in 2016 that allows students and families to file the FAFSA using tax information from two years prior. For example, a high school student looking to attend college in Fall 2017 would file the FAFSA using taxes from 2015 rather than 2016. Hence the name “Prior-Prior.” Also, using the Prior-Prior Year system allows students and families to apply for financial aid in October rather than waiting until January.

What does switching to PPY mean for students and families?

• You will be able to file the FAFSA earlier

• It is easier to submit a FAFSA with readily available prior-prior year data

• You will receive earlier notification on financial aid packages that are available

What is the difference between applying in October and applying in January?
Normally, the FAFSA is made available to students and families January 1 of each calendar year. This means that if a student is going to attend school in Fall 2017, you submit a FAFSA as early as January 1 using tax data from 2016. Students and families looking to use the new PPY system are able to submit a FAFSA as early as October 1. This means that if a student is going to attend school in Fall 2017, they can submit a FAFSA as early as October 1, 2016, using tax data from 2015.

What materials are needed before you apply under PPY?
• Your social security number

• Your federal income tax returns from two years prior, W-2s from two-years prior, and any other records of money earned from two years prior that are applicable

• Bank statements and records of investments that are applicable

• Records of untaxed income that are applicable

What happens if your job situation changes after you apply?
Unfortunately, most information cannot be updated once you file the FAFSA because the information you provide must be accurate as of the day you originally signed your FAFSA. You are only able to update a change in address, email address, and other contact information. You also must update any changes in your dependency status and if there is a change in the number of people in your household. If you have a significant change in income that you are not able to report on your submitted FAFSA, contact the financial aid office at the college you plan to attend.

You should not apply under PPY if:
• You recently lost your job

• The prior-prior year doesn’t reflect your current “need” situation

• The new job you have when you file is worse than the job you had the prior-prior year

For more information
Visit the NACAC website


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