2017-18 FAFSA Changes: What Prior-Prior Year (PPY) Means for You

The change will allow students to report tax information from a prior-prior tax year (PPY) allowing tax information from two years ago.

Elizabeth Hoyt

October 19, 2015

2017-18 FAFSA Changes: What Prior-Prior Year (PPY) Means for You

President Obama recently announced that some significant changes will be coming to the FAFSA as of next year, one of which will be the ability for students and their families to report tax income information from an earlier tax year, rather than just the prior tax year.

Under the current FAFSA, a person is only able report prior year (PY) tax income information. Under the PY policy, many students were not able to fill out the FAFSA until near April in order to wait for taxes to be filed, even though the form comes out on January 1.

Note: this policy will remain until the change takes place in October 2016, so you should continue to use PY on your FAFSA applications for this coming January’s FAFSA forms.

What Does Prior-Prior Year (PPY) Mean?

The change will allow students to report tax information from a prior-prior tax year (PPY) allowing tax information from two years ago.

This will also allow students and their families to fill out the FAFSA form earlier than ever before in hopes to have their financial aid packages before making college decisions.

It’s easiest to understand these two terms by breaking them down and comparing them with one another to see the benefits of the switch.

Here’s a quick comparison between the current FAFSA, which operates with prior year data, or PY, compared to October 2016’s FAFSA change to prior-prior year or PPY:

Prior Year (PY)       Prior-Prior Year (PPY)
• Available spring semester; January

  • Available fall semester; October

• Only allows taxes from previous year

  • Allows taxes from two years ago

• File FAFSA & must make corrections to data once taxes are filed

  • Taxes already filed & data is correct from previous year

• Incorrectly aligned with college application calendar

  • Better aligned with college application calendar

• Makes it difficult to meet priority filing deadlines, which must be met to qualify for some forms of financial aid

  • Removes conflicts with priority filing deadlines, which must be met to qualify for some forms of financial aid

• Financial aid information available nearing college decision deadline dates

  • Financial aid information available further in advance of college decision deadlines

• Forced more stressful and less-informed college & financial aid decisions   • Allows for more at-ease, informed college & financial aid decisions



If curious, you can learn more about the details of the new FAFSA changes on the FederalStudentAid website.

As always, we’ll keep you up-to-date on everything FAFSA on Fastweb, too!

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