Changes Impacting the 2017–18 FAFSA®
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) and how is it changing?
The FAFSA® is the application that students must complete to apply for federal student aid, which can be used to attend an eligible college or career school. Federal student aid includes Federal Pell Grants, federal student loans, and work-study opportunities. In addition to determining eligibility for federal student aid, many states, private organizations, colleges, and career schools rely on information from the FAFSA to determine eligibility for nonfederal sources of aid.
Two major changes to the FAFSA will take effect for the 2017–18 school year. (The 2017–18 school
year runs from July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018.)
1. The FAFSA will be available earlier (October 1 of the previous year instead of January 1 of
the upcoming school year).
2. The FAFSA will collect income information from an earlier tax year.
Here’s a table with a summary of the changes. You’ll find details below the table.
1. The FAFSA will be available earlier.
Currently, students cannot complete a FAFSA for the upcoming school year until January 1. For
example, for the 2016–17 school year, an applicant cannot complete a FAFSA until Jan. 1, 2016.
Beginning with the 2017–18 school year, applicants will be able to complete a FAFSA as early as
October 1 of the previous year. (See table.)
2. The FAFSA will require information from an earlier tax year.
The second major change also begins with the 2017–18 FAFSA cycle. Currently, in addition to other
information, FAFSA applicants (and their parents, if applicable) must report the prior year’s
income information. For example, for the 2016–17 school year, applicants must report income
information for 2015—the tax year before the beginning of the school year. Beginning with the
2017–18 FAFSA, students will report income information from two years prior, which in this case is
2015 income information—two tax years before the beginning of the school year. (See table.)
U.S. Department of Education; September 2015
How will an earlier FAFSA and the change to the income year benefit students?
Benefits include the following:
• Alignment. The financial aid application process will be more aligned with the college
• Certainty. Students (and their parents, if applicable) will not need to estimate income
• Less pressure. There will be more time for students to explore and understand financial aid
options and apply for aid before state and school deadlines.
Do students still have to complete the FAFSA every year?
Yes. Because eligibility for federal student aid does not carry over from one school year to the
next, students will need to fill out the FAFSA for each school year in which they plan to be a
student. Eligibility for financial aid can differ from year to year for various reasons, including
a student’s or family’s financial situation and the number of family members enrolled in college.
Do families need to complete their taxes before they fill out the FAFSA?
Beginning with the 2017–18 FAFSA, students will report income information from two years prior,
which in this case is 2015 income information. Considering that the 2015 tax filing deadline is
April 15, 2016, and the 2017–18 FAFSA will become available on Oct. 1, 2016, applicants are very
likely to have completed their taxes before October 1, and the tax information would be available
to be reported on the FAFSA.
How does information transfer from the IRS to the FAFSA?
The IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) allows applicants (and their parents, if applicable) to access
the IRS tax return information needed to complete the FAFSA, and transfer the required information
directly into the FAFSA from the IRS. The FAFSA includes a link to the IRS if an applicant is
eligible to use the IRS DRT.
Can a student still be selected for verification if he or she is using 2015 income information on
his or her 2017–18 FAFSA?
Yes. A student can be selected for verification by either the U.S. Department of Education or by
the student’s school. Verification is a process by which a student is required to submit
documentation that the data reported on the student’s FAFSA is accurate. The financial aid
administrator at a student’s college may make corrections or updates to the student’s FAFSA based
on the documentation provided as part of the verification process.
U.S. Department of Education; September 2015
Summer Financial Aid Application available here!
- SOU's Regular Summer Session 2016 begins June 13th and ends September 25th.
- Summer Aid awarding will begin mid-May, 2016.
- Priority application date is May 13, 2016.
- You must have completed the 2015-16 FAFSA by June 17, 2016 to be considered for summer aid at SOU.
- Summer aid will be limited to any remaining eligibility from the 2015-16 academic year (eligibility will be reviewed upon submission of application).
- Students must be meeting Satisfactory Academic Process (SAP).
- It is your responsibility to arrange for payment of your fees even if your financial aid is not available at the time of scheduled fee payment.
- If you make changes to your registration, please submit an Aid Change Request (PDF) to the Enrollment Service Center.
- Summer Financial Aid will begin posting to student accounts on Monday, June 20th providing your file is complete and you are enrolled in a course that started on or before June 20, 2016.
Example: If your first course starts on July 5th, that is the earliest date your financial aid will post to your account.
Financial Aid Online
For 2016-17 Award Year
Once you have been admitted, use inside.sou.edu to access your 2016-2017 financial aid information located on the Financial Aid tab.
Where to Start?
To get started with financial aid at SOU, follow our easy Financial Aid Checklist (PDF) and read the Financial Aid Facts. For additional information about the steps involved, see the information below.
Southern Oregon University FAFSA school code: 003219
This school code is required while filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to make sure we receive your aid status.
Financial Aid Process
Financial Aid Programs
Frequently Asked Questions