The Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA)

FAFSAThe 2017-18 Free Application for Student Aid is now open. Encourage your students to file for federal financial aid as soon as possible.  

To view current data on FAFSA submissions and completions by high school and district, visit the FAFSA Completion Tool.

Changes to the FAFSA

Both the filing timeline and the information requested of families has changed.


  • The FAFSA form is now available on Oct. 1 — a full three months earlier than previously allowed.
  • For the first time, applicants are asked to use prior-prior year (PPY) tax information when reporting personal and family income.
  • On March 1, 2017, the Federal Student Aid (FSA) office suspended the use of the Internal Revenue Service Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) due to security concerns. The DRT allowed students and families to import their tax information from the IRS into the FAFSA, which simplified the process. The Department of Education (ED) and the IRS are working to reinstate the tool, with a projected date of October 1, 2017, so filers for the 2018-2019 school year can use it. Until that date, ED has provided flexible alternatives to help students through the FAFSA process who were impacted by the change. NACAC will continue to monitor the situation, so please check back later for updates.


NACAC resources can help you assist students and families as they navigate the new financial aid process. An animated video for students and fact sheets for counselors, admission professionals, and students (including a Spanish language version) are available.

Free Webinars Available On Demand

Still have questions about Early FAFSA and PPY?

NACAC partnered with The College Board and the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) to provide free webinars highlighting changes to the FAFSA.

Counseling Series:

Admission Series:


Videos of two educational sessions presented at NACAC’s 2016 national conference can also provide answers as you help students and families navigate the financial aid application process. 

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