FINANCIAL AID TIMELINE AND CHANGES
Beginning in the fall of 2016, the timeline to apply for financial aid changed. Previously, families (US citizens and permanent residents) would wait until after January 1st to start filling out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) with income and tax information for the calendar year that just concluded. (Often, tax information would have to be estimated because families would not actually file taxes until as late as April 15th.) Now, domestic families will be able to begin completing the FAFSA on October 1st with income and tax information that was submitted for taxes the previous April. This shift in procedure is known as “Prior-Prior Year” (“PPY”) because families will submit tax information from the prior-prior year before the year the student is seeking admission to that institution. (For example, students seeking to enter college in the fall of 2018 will submit income and tax information from 2016. See the chart below for clarification.)
FINANCIAL AID APPLICATIONS
FAFSA: the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, administered by the US Department of Education, is an application to determine eligibility for financial aid from the US government. Only US citizens and permanent residents are eligible to submit the FAFSA.
CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE: The College Scholarship Service financial aid application is distributed by the College Board. The CSS PROFILE is administered by many, not all, colleges and universities, and determines eligibility for financial aid from institutional funds.
WEBSITES FOR SCHOLARSHIP INFORMATION
FastWeb (Financial Aid Search Through the Web) is a free online scholarship search service.
FinAid! is a free student guide to financial aid information, advice, and tools.