Mapping Your Future: Upcoming changes to the 2018-19 FAFSA


Upcoming changes to the 2018-19 FAFSA

By Catherine Mueller

August 24, 2017

Students and parents completing the 2018-2019 Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are in store for some changes this year.

Students and parents who've never completed the form before won't know the difference. But those who have completed the FAFSA in the past – as well as counselors and other financial aid professionals – will see the most significant change is how the IRS Data Retrieval Tool works beginning on Oct. 1, 2017.

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool pulls income data from the Internal Revenue Services and populates the income fields on the form, eliminating the need for students and parents to enter the information manually. Due to security concerns during the past year, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool will now function differently. Although it can still be used to retrieve income data from the IRS, students and parents will no longer be able to view the actual data populating those fields on the form.

Because FAFSA filers can't view the IRS data, there may be a couple of additional steps in the process, including answering additional questions regarding any IRA distribution or pension rollovers. Also, joint tax filers who have reported combined income earned from work on their tax returns will be asked to manually enter income earned from work for each tax filer (basically indicating what amount was earned by each filer).

Another new step at the beginning of the FAFSA completion process is the presentation a banner, requiring files to acknowledge:

  • The Department of Education monitors the FAFSA for criminal activity.
  • The filer consents to such monitoring.
  • Unauthorized use of the FAFSA for commercial or private financial gain is subject to criminal prosecution.

Students and parents needing assistance with completing the FAFSA can call Mapping Your Future at 1-800-374-4072 or email us at