Board of Trustees Unanimously Votes to Move to Prior-Prior Year for CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE
Board of Trustees Unanimously Votes to Move to Prior-Prior Year for CSS/Financial Aid PROFILECollege Board Communications
On December 2, the College Board's Board of Trustees unanimously decided that CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE will move to accept prior-prior year income information. This means that beginning with the 2017-18 financial aid cycle, PROFILE, the Institutional Need Analysis System (INAS), Institutional Methodology (IM), and the FAFSA, will all use prior-prior year tax information as the basis for assessing a family’s financial need.
Trustees were presented with information that addressed both the benefits and the potential challenges of moving to prior-prior year. This information was prepared by members from across the professional spectrum including the Financial Aid Standards and Services Advisory Committee (FASSAC), the College Scholarship Service Assembly Council (CSSAC), and the Guidance and Admission Assembly Council (GAAC). College Board staff also consulted closely with the counseling community, financial aid and enrollment leaders, and college access organizations.
Key to the Board decision is that using prior-prior year allows for a more streamlined and consistent financial aid application experience for students that aligns with the benefits of an earlier FAFSA based on prior-prior year. Potential benefits include:
- A greater number of students will file aid applications, thus increasing the number of students obtaining aid for which they are eligible.
- Better information about paying for college will be available earlier in the college selection process, which will help students and families make more informed decisions.
- Institutions will start working under a more manageable financial aid processing schedule.
There are several considerations for institutions that will be critical to ensure a smooth transition, including a short timeline to adjust Institutional Methodology and accommodate new inputs, and potential impacts to institutional aid budgets.
The College Board is committed to supporting institutions through this transition to ensure that students fully benefit from this shift.
More details about implementation steps and timelines will be communicated in the coming weeks as the College Board continues to consult with members.