How Prior Prior Year changes the game

In the current college application cycle students have to wait until January of their senior year to submit for federal student aid. (And really, who gets their taxes done in January? Making the submission time more like February or March.) This deadline is poorly aligned with the college application calendar, creating obstacles for students trying to meet priority filing deadlines and resulting in less informed enrollment choices.

It’s a stressful system for anyone, and for underrepresented and low-income students, it can be a serious deterrent.

The benefits of Prior Prior Year

Prior Prior Year can’t take all the stress out of applying for federal student aid, but it’s a big step in the right direction. The new system will allow students to submit their FAFSAs in October by accepting tax information on the year prior-prior to their enrollment. (e.g. Students enrolling in fall 2017 will be allowed to submit 2015 tax information for federal student aid.) We’ve put together this PPY worksheet for you to share with your students.

Here are a just a few of the benefits of Prior Prior Year that will make it easier for students to get the college funds they need:

  • More students will be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to easily import verified IRS tax returns, making it so fewer families will be vulnerable to making mistakes on their applications.
  • All students will have their prior-prior tax information ready when applications for FAFSA open, giving them equal opportunity to be considered for all available funds.
  • Students who are eager to choose their college and lock in admission with colleges, like Cornell, who offer rolling admission decisions can finish early and have peace of mind.

The reality of Prior Prior Year for educators

While we believe that Prior Prior Year will ultimately be a positive change, there will be an adjustment period for counselors and college admission departments as institutions determine appropriate deadlines. We’d like to know what changes to your workload you anticipate as Prior Prior Year is adopted, and how we can help support you along the way.  We’ll share the results with you in a future newsletter.

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