Early FAFSA | www.hampshire.edu

Early FAFSA

On September 13, 2015, President Obama signed an executive order that will allow families to complete the 2017-18 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) using income information from the 2015 federal tax return, the same income information that you and your parent(s) reported when filing the 2016-17 FAFSA. As a result, the 2017-18 FAFSA may be filed as early as October 1, 2016. This new feature will allow students and parents to report final, accurate income information on the 2017-18 FAFSA, as the vast majority of families will have already completed their 2015 taxes by October 2016.

Print an information sheet about the Early FAFSA.

NEW ADMISSIONS APPLICANTS for 2017-18: You must complete and submit the 2017-18 FAFSA and the 2017-18 CSS Profile form(s) by the financial aid application due date.

CONTINUING STUDENTS for 2017-18: Because you are being asked to report 2015 income and tax information on both the 2016-17 FAFSA and the 2017-18 FAFSA, the data for the two years must match. If there is conflicting information between the two FAFSA years it may affect your 2016-17 Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and the Pell Grant amount you are receiving for the 2016-17 year. 

How will you and Hampshire College be notified if there is conflicting information between the two FAFSA years?
The earlier you submit your 2017-18 FAFSA the sooner you and Hampshire will be notified if there is conflicting information and if we need to adjust your federal aid for 2016-17. File your 2017-18 FAFSA using the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) on the FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1, 2016 so we can assist you resolving any conflicting information.

You will be notified in your 2017-18 Student Aid Report (SAR) if you have conflicting information. You receive the SAR after you submit the FAFSA.

Your 2017-18 FAFSA report will contain a message that notifies us that there is conflicting information when the 2016-17 FAFSA data is compared with the 2017-18 FAFSA data. We will need to resolve this conflicting information. No aid can be determined or processed for both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 years until the conflicting information has been resolved.

How can the conflicting information be resolved?
If you are receiving a Federal Pell Grant for 2016-17 and if you have not already done so, we strongly suggest that you make a correction to your 2016-17 FAFSA to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) on the FAFSA. By using the DRT to import 2015 tax data it will ensure that certain information on the 2016-17 FAFSA is accurate and it will lessen the chance of conflicting information. Then complete and submit the 2017-18 FAFSA using the DRT as soon as possible after October 1, 2016.

For all others, we suggest that you complete and submit the 2017-18 FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1, 2016. Use the DRT when you complete the FAFSA.

Please note that if you used the DRT on your 2016-17 FAFSA and if you have conflicting information on your 2017-18 FAFSA we can update your 2017-18 FAFSA with the DRT data from your 2016-17 FAFSA. The reverse is also possible. If you used the DRT on your 2017-18 FAFSA we can update your 2016-17 FAFSA using the DRT data on the 2017-18 FAFSA. There are time restrictions as to when you or we can make corrections to the 2016-17 FAFSA, so be sure to complete and submit your 2017-18 FAFSA as soon as possible beginning October 1, 2016, so we will learn if you have conflicting information.

Review the steps to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) on the FAFSA. A video on how to use the DRT is also available.

Conflicting information may still occur even if you use the DRT: for example, tax deferred pension payments, child support paid or received, housing allowances, and earnings from work for each individual parent, are not part of the DRT process. Be sure that the responses to these questions match on the 2016-17 and 2017-18 FAFSA forms.

What are the consequences of having conflicting information?
1. If you have a Federal Pell Grant for the 2016-17 year, the Pell Grant may be increased, decreased, or eliminated based on the corrected Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for 2016-17. The amount of your Pell Grant is based on your EFC. If your 2017-18 FAFSA is reporting conflicting information and your EFC for 2016-17 changes as a result of the resolution of the conflicting information, the amount of your Pell Grant for 2016-17 may be adjusted.

Example A: If on the 2016-17 FAFSA you reported your parents' 2015 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) as an estimate of $40,000, but on the 2017-18 FAFSA you report the actual AGI for 2015 as $47,536, your 2016-17 Pell Grant may be reduced or eliminated.

Example B: If your EFC is zero, your maximum Pell Grant amount for 2016-17 would be $5,815. If updated tax information increases your EFC to $1,000, your Pell Grant amount would drop to $4,865.

The updated EFC may be a result of you using the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) on your 2016-17 FAFSA, or it may be the result of the financial aid office using the DRT data on your 2017-18 FAFSA information to update your 2016-17 FAFSA. 

2. We cannot disburse any remaining aid for 2016-17 and for 2017-18 until the conflicting information is resolved. 

3. If you are in an over-award situation, you will not be eligible for any Title IV aid for 2017-18 until you have paid back the over-award. (See next paragraph for more information.)

What happens in cases in which Hampshire is unable to resolve the conflicting information?
We may not be able to resolve the conflicting information either because the student did not respond to Hampshire’s request for information or because the student did not adequately clarify the reasons for the conflicting information. In these cases we must consider the student to be in an over-award status for any need-based 2016-2017 Federal Title IV aid (Federal Grants, Perkins Loans, Direct Subsidized Loans). In the case of Federal Grants and Perkins Loans, the student will need to establish a satisfactory repayment plan with the U.S. Department of Education. 

If you are in an over-award situation you will not be eligible for any Title IV aid for 2017-18 until you have paid back the over-award.

Plan to submit your 2017-2018 FAFSA as soon as possible beginning October 1, 2016 and to work with the staff in the financial aid office to resolve any conflicting information to avoid an over-award situation. Plan to use the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) on the FAFSA to import your and your parents' 2015 income and tax data.

My 2016-17 FAFSA was selected for the federal verification process. Do I need to make any corrections to my 2016-17 FAFSA at this time? 
If your 2016-17 FAFSA was selected for verification you had used the Data Retrieval Tool or you provided us with an IRS Tax Return Transcript. This means that we have accurate 2015 income and tax data. We will be able to use the 2016-17 verified data to update your 2017-18 FAFSA if there is conflicting information. If your 2016-17 FAFSA was selected and verified please DO NOT make any corrections to your 2016-17 FAFSA.

What if I or my parents are not able to use the DRT?
If a tax filer is not able to use the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) on the FAFSA (for example the tax filer is married, but filing separately) the tax filer may provide us with a copy of the that person's 2015 IRS Tax Return Transcript. Please review the instructions how to request a transcript.

Does all of the information on my 2017-18 FAFSA need to match the data on my 2016-17 FAFSA?
No, only the income and tax information. Use the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) on the 2017-18 FAFSA to import this data from the IRS into your FAFSA.

The number of members in your household, the number of your household members planning to be in enrolled in college for 2017-18, amounts in cash, checking and savings, and the amount of investments can be different on the 2016-17 and the 2017-18 FAFSAs. These questions are specific for the award year in question and may not necessarily be the same for both years.

Conflicting information may still occur even if you use the DRT: for example, tax deferred pension payments, child support paid or received, housing allowances, and earnings from work for each individual parent, are not part of the DRT process. Be sure that the responses to these questions match on both the 2016-17 and 2017-18 FAFSA forms.

How does this change to the 2017-18 FAFSA affect the 2017-18 CSS Profile form?
The 2017-18 CSS Profile will also be asking for 2015 income and tax information. If you are required to complete the Profile, be sure that your Profile contains matching information for the questions that do not import through the Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA process, including tax deferred pension payments, child support paid or received, housing allowances, and earnings from work for each individual parent. If these responses on the Profile do not match those on the FAFSA it will create conflicting information between the Profile and FAFSA forms, which will need to be resolved.

You may complete the 2017-18 Profile as early as October 1, 2016.

Any final suggestions from the Hampshire College financial aid office?
1. Complete and submit your 2017-18 FAFSA as soon as possible beginning October 1, 2016. Use the Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) on the FAFSA process to import your and your parents' 2015 income and tax data. Consider working on the FAFSA with your parents during October, Thanksgiving, or December break. The sooner we know if your 2017-18 FAFSA has conflicting information, the sooner we can help you to resolve it.

2. If you are receiving a Federal Pell Grant for 2016-17, and if you have not already used the DRT or provided the office with an IRS 2015 Tax Return Transcript, make a correction to your 2016-17 FAFSA to use the DRT or request the Tax Return Transcript and submit it to us.

3. Avoid having an over-award situation. If you need to pay the government back for any over-awarded federal aid you will not be eligible for any federal aid for 2017-18 and beyond until it is paid back. Complete the 2017-18 FAFSA early, so we will learn if you have conflicting information.

4. Work with the financial aid staff to resolve any conflicting information. We don't want you to be in any situation where you may lose and need to repay any federal aid because of the conflicting information on your 2017-18 FAFSA. Stay in touch with us until the situation is resolved. You'll be happy you did.

5. If you are required to submit the 2017-18 CSS Profile, plan to complete and submit this at the same time you submit your 2017-18 FAFSA. Be sure that all comparable questions on the FAFSA contain the same responses as reported on the Profile. If these responses on the Profile do not match those on the FAFSA, it will create conflicting information between the two forms which will need to be resolved.

6. Please contact us with any questions you may have.  Our contact information is listed below.

Additional Resources:
How to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA

Watch a video on how to use the the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on the FAFSA

How to request an IRS Tax Return Transcript

How to request a FSA ID

Check your online Financial Aid Account on TheHUB to see what is required for your aid application; be sure to select the appropriate year.

FAFSA Website  (be sure to select the appropriate year of the FAFSA (2016-17 or 2017-18)

Complete the CSS Profile (if required for your aid application)

Frequently asked questions about the Early FAFSA

What do applicants report on the FAFSA?

Federal Student Aid Web site with information about Early FAFSA

Federal Student Aid Information Sheet

Stay In Touch
With Financial Aid
Snail Mail
Financial Aid
Hampshire College
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002