Back-to-school season in 2016 came with an improvement for high school seniors: An earlier and (for many) easier FAFSA. As of Oct. 1, 2016, students can complete the FAFSA using income tax information from two years prior. 

Early FAFSA is great for students, who are more likely to be able to import their income tax information into the FAFSA electronically, speeding the application process and reducing likelihood of selection for additional verification of income information. Additionally, it allows students to learn their federal aid eligibility earlier, permitting them more time to shop around and apply to colleges before admissions deadlines.

Also in 2016, NCAN launched Form Your Future, a national campaign to help more low-income students complete the FAFSA. The campaign partners with celebrities and social media influencers with the goal of engaging students and reaching them on channels where they are most active. The campaign website also provides helpful free resources to volunteers and educators who want to provide one-on-one assistance on completing the FAFSA to students and their families, as well as ideas on how to spread the word and get others involved in the effort to encourage millions of students nationwide to apply for financial aid. NCAN encourages all schools and nonprofit organizations that assist or encourage students to complete the FAFSA to use the campaign brand and resources to extend their reach.

The following pages provide additional resources and tips to help students, parents and counselors navigate the Early FAFSA and Prior-Prior Year changes.

  • Early FAFSA & PPY – This page provides a brief introduction to Early FAFSA and PPY as well as resources for understanding the changes.
  • FSA ID – This page provides troubleshooting tips and videos for obtaining your FSA ID.
  • Filing the FAFSA– This page provides tip sheets and videos for completing the 2017-18 FAFSA successfully.
  • General FAFSA Resources – This page covers frequently asked questions about student aid including how to appeal for more financial aid, understanding expected family contribution, and tip sheets and handbooks directly from Federal Student Aid.
  • Revised Timelines for Juniors and Seniors - This page provides revised junior and senior year timelines for students, counselors and advisors.