Beginning October 1, 2016, a much praised change in the FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid) goes into effect. Referred to as prior-prior year (PPY), the change allows families to use tax returns completed two years before (prior-prior year) rather than 2016 tax returns to fill out the FAFSA. Among PPY’s major benefits:
- Students can file their FAFSA much earlier—as early as October 1, 2016. This will allow them to find out sooner about their eligibility for federal financial aid to pay for college rather than having to wait weeks or even months later.
- PPY allows most students to use the IRS’s Data Retrieval Tool. The data retrieval tool links up with tax data and this data is pre-filled in the FAFSA form. This makes completing the FAFSA easier and more accurate for families and students.
Two articles worth reading about PPY and how it benefits students and families:
- New America: One Small Step for FAFSA, One Giant Leap for Students.
- Inside Higher Ed: A Game Changer for Financial Aid.