Two important changes affecting financial aid

September 29, 2016

Starting with the 2017-18 financial aid year — which begins on July 1, 2017— there are two important changes taking place with how students submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Students must fill out a FAFSA every year to determine eligibility for federal Pell grants and student loans. The changes include:

  1. The FAFSA will be available earlier. In previous years, the FAFSA was not available until January 1. Starting in 2017, students will be able to access the form in October.
  2. You will need tax information from two years prior, rather than one. For example, a student filling out the 2016-17 FAFSA used tax information from 2015. However, students (and their parents, if applicable) may not always have their taxes completed by January, which could cause delays with the correct information being entered into the FAFSA. Using earlier returns avoids this complication.

These changes are being made so that the financial aid process better aligns with the college application calendar and to allow for more informed decision-making regarding financial aid. The first year of this new process will be a transition year, which means that the 2015 tax information will be used for both the 2016-17 and the 2017-18 FAFSA. Students will still need to fill out the FAFSA for both years.

There is a fact sheet with more information prepared by the U.S. Department of Education. If you have questions about the financial aid process, please contact the UW-Platteville Financial Aid office at 608.342.1836 or

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