Financial Aid > Applying for Aid > Early FAFSA or Prior-Prior Year

Early FAFSA or Prior-Prior Year

​What is Prior-Prior Year?

Prior Prior Year is a term used to describe the ability to process your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at an earlier time frame.

What’s changing for 2017-2018?

Starting with the 2017-2018 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA):

  • You’ll be able to submit your FAFSA earlier. You can file your 2017-2018 FAFSA as early as Oct. 1,
    2016, rather than beginning on Jan. 1, 2017. The earlier submission date will be a permanent change,
    enabling you to complete and submit a FAFSA as early as Oct. 1 every year.
  • You’ll use earlier income and tax information. Beginning with the 2017-2018 FAFSA, students will be
    required to report income and tax information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017-2018
    FAFSA, you — and your parent(s), as appropriate — will report your 2015 income and tax information, rather
    than your 2016 income and tax information.

The following table provides a summary of key dates as we transition to using the early FAFSA
submission time frame and earlier tax information.

When a Student Is Attending College (School Year)When a Student Can Submit a FAFSAWhich Year’s Income and Tax Informat​ion Is Required
​July 1, 2016-June 30, 2017​Jan. 1, 2016-June 30, 20172015
July 1, 2017-June 30-2018​Oct. 1, 2016-June 30, 20182015
July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019Oct. 1, 2017-June 30, 20192016

How will the changes benefit me?

We expect that you’ll benefit in these ways:

  • Because the FAFSA will ask for older income and tax information, you will already have done your taxes by
    the time you fill out your FAFSA, and you won’t need to estimate your tax information and then go back into
    the FAFSA later to update it.
  • Because you’ll already have done your taxes by the time you fill out your FAFSA, you may be able to use
    the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) to automatically import your tax information into your FAFSA. (Learn
    about the IRS DRT at
  • Because the FAFSA is available earlier, you may feel less pressure due to having more time to explore and
    understand your financial aid options and apply for aid before your state’s and school’s deadlines.

FAFSA deadlines for DCCCD will remain the same (check out our Important Dates & Deadlines page).

Since the 2017-2018 FAFSA asks for the same tax and income information as the 2016-2017 FAFSA, will my 2016-2017 FAFSA information automatically be carried over into my 2017-2018 renewal FAFSA?

No; too much could have changed since you filed your last FAFSA, and there’s no way to predict what might be different, so you’ll need to enter the information again. However, keep in mind that many people are eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to automatically import their tax information into the FAFSA, making the process of reporting tax information quick and easy.

Can I choose to report 2016 information if my family’s financial situation has changed since our 2015 taxes were filed?

You must report the information the FAFSA asks for. If your family’s income has changed substantially since the 2015 tax year, contact the Financial Aid Office about your family’s situation.

Note: The FAFSA asks for marital status as of the day you fill it out. So if you’re married now but weren’t in 2015 (and therefore didn’t file taxes as married), you’ll need to add your spouse’s income to your FAFSA. Similarly, if you filed your 2015 taxes as married but you’re no longer married when you fill out the FAFSA, you’ll need to subtract your spouse’s income.

Where can I get more information about — and help with — the FAFSA?

  • See our FAFSA Overview page for information and tips
  • or contact us at the Financial Aid Call Center or your college Financial Aid Office.