The White House recently announced modifications to the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that will benefit many students and families across the nation.
The intent of this new modification, known as the Prior-Prior Year (PPY), is to make the application process simpler and quicker—also known as Early FAFSA.
“I definitely think (the changes) will help students and put less stress on students so they can focus on school,” said Unis Barakat, UC Berkeley’s senior financial aid professional.
What Does PPY Mean?
This means students can use tax data from one year earlier than they can now. In other words, beginning October 2016, the FAFSA will require parent and/or student tax information from the prior-prior year.
So, What’s The Big Deal?
You can complete the FAFSA much faster
This is awesome news, right?! You don’t have to wait for last year’s tax information. The cool thing about this is that you can now use tax information from the year before (prior-prior year) to complete the FAFSA. The PPY system allows almost everyone to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, a system that lets you import tax data directly into the FAFSA. It will also reduce the number of applicants who need to estimate income or taxes paid— finally, you don’t have to play that guessing game anymore.
You will have more time to complete the FAFSA
Before PPY was implemented the FAFSA was open from January to August. Now you can start as early as October, effectively adding three extra months to the FAFSA application timeline.
You will be notified sooner
Isn’t it the best feeling to know you don’t have to rush through things? Now students and their families get more time to complete the financial aid process and prepare to pay for college. It’ll also give more time for financial aid administrators to counsel students and families along the way.
You have more Pell Grants
Because of the longer time window for students to file the FAFSA, we expect to see an increase in the number of students receiving federal Pell Grants, financial aid that doesn’t need to be paid back. In light of the increased Pell Grant funding over the next several years this increase could encourage hundreds of thousands of students to apply and receive financial aid, which will assist them in pursuing their educational dream.
With this new change students are given plenty of opportunity to successfully complete their education.
* With the use of the prior-prior year’s tax data, it is important for students and parents to be aware that if there has been a significant change in a student’s financial status, financial aid administrators still have the means of employing professional judgment to review a student’s situation. In cases that warrant such a review, financial aid administrators may adjust awards to correspond with the new information provided via the appeal process.