Posted Date: May 6, 2016

Author:  Lisa DiCarlo, Director, Student Experience Group, Federal Student Aid

Subject: Early FAFSA Electronic Announcement #6: Important Publication, System, and Software Availability Dates in Preparation for 2017-2018 Early FAFSA

In preparation for the availability of the 2017-2018 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) on Saturday, October 1, 2016 (Early FAFSA), we are pleased to provide a monthly release schedule for our publications, systems, and software that are associated with the start-up of the 2017-2018 FAFSA filing cycle. In general, the majority of these resources will be available three months earlier than in the past, to correspond with the three-month early launch date of the 2017-2018 FAFSA.

The expected availability schedule for publications, systems, and software related to the 2017-2018 Early FAFSA is as follows:

  • May 2016
    • Notice of Federal Need Analysis Methodology for the 2017-2018 Award Year

  • June 2016  
    • 2017-2018 Application Processing System Specifications for Software Developers (Draft)
    • 2017-2018 Electronic Data Exchange (EDE) Technical Reference (DRAFT)

  • July 2016
    • 2017-2018 CPS Test System User Guide

  • August 2016
    • 2017-2018 Electronic Data Exchange (EDE) Technical Reference (FINAL)
    • 2017-2018 EFC Formula Guide
    • 2017-2018 SAR Comments Code and Text Guide
    • 2017-2018 ISIR Guide

  • September 2016
    • 2017-2018 Summary of Changes for the Application Processing System
    • 2017-2018 FAFSA on the Web Preview Presentation
    • 2017-2018 CPS Web Applications Demo System availability

  • October 2016
    • 2017-2018 FAFSA on the Web availability (October 1, 2016)
    • 2017-2018 IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) availability (October 1, 2016)
    • 2017-2018 FAA Access to CPS Online availability (October 1, 2016)
    • EDExpress for Windows 2017-2018, Release 1.0 (October 3, 2016)

  • December 2016
    • 2017-2018 Application Processing System Specifications for Software Developers (Final)

As these resources become available the community will be notified via announcements posted to the Information for Financial Aid Professionals (IFAP) Web site.

Note: Prior to the start of a new award year we typically provide an update to the NSLDS Transfer Student Monitoring (TSM)/Financial Aid History (FAH) User Guide and Batch File Layouts. For the 2017-2018 Award Year we anticipate no change to this information. Schools may continue to refer to the TSM/FAH User Guide and Batch File Layouts dated January 2016, posted to the IFAP Web site on November 24, 2015.

Contact Information

As a reminder, to provide the financial aid community with easy-to-access information and resources relating to the 2017-2018 Early FAFSA, we have created an Early FAFSA information page on the IFAP Web site. The Early FAFSA information page includes links to relevant Dear Colleague Letters, Electronic Announcements, and other Early FAFSA resources. Because we will be updating the page on a regular basis, institutions are urged to check the Early FAFSA page often.

In addition, we have developed an "Early FAFSA" mailbox as a way for the community to contribute ideas and concerns that they believe we should consider for the 2017-2018 Early FAFSA. The e-mail address of the mailbox is Although we will not be able to reply to individual messages, we will carefully review all messages received and where appropriate post them to our Early FAFSA page.


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