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FAFSA Changes for 2019-2020

The application process for financial aid has changed. You may also hear these changes referred to as "Early FAFSA" or "Prior Prior Year/PPY"

Changes in a Nutshell:

What hasn't changed?

  • FSA ID: Students (and parents, if appropriate) will still need to establish an FSA ID and password to sign the FAFSA.
  • FAFSA done annually: The FAFSA will still need to be completed for every academic year you are seeking funding. For the 2019-20 academic year you can complete the FAFSA beginning Oct. 1, 2018.
  • Complete Financial Aid file: Students must still complete their Financial Aid file by submitting additional documentation before awarding can occur.

Important Dates

  • You may submit a FAFSA in October: Students will be able to file a 2019/2020 FAFSA as early as Oct. 1, 2018.
  • FAFSA Priority Date: Students should have their FAFSA’s complete by January 4, 2019and submit any requested Additional Documentation by January 31, 2019 to remain eligible for limited priority funding that is awarded on a first-come first-serve basis.
  • You are required to use earlier tax information: For the 2019–2020 FAFSA, students will be required to report income and tax information from 2018.
  • IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT): Students and parents will be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) when completing the FAFSA.  Tax information will auto-fill into your FAFSA and this will result in fewer errors and faster processing. The IRS DRT will be available Oct 1, when the 19/20 FAFSA becomes available.
  • FAFSA Verification: Some students will be selected for FAFSA Verification. If you are selected UNM will notify you, you will be required to submit your 2017 Tax Transcript/s and other documentation. We will notify you at your UNM email if additional documentation is required.
  • Award Notification: Award Notification will begin in late February, although some awards may be estimated until the legislature finalizes funding amounts for the 2019/2020 award year (usually by late June).

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I have an option to use my 2018 tax year income instead of the 2017 tax year income when completing the 2019/2020 FAFSA?

No. For the 2019/2020 FAFSA, you will be required to use income and tax information from the 2017 tax year.

Some families may be experiencing special circumstances which will cause their current income to be less than the income used on the FAFSA. Generally, a special circumstance is an unforeseen change that adversely affects a family’s income. Examples of special circumstances include recent unemployment, death, divorce, separation, and unusual medical expenses. If you, your spouse, or your parent has experienced a significant drop in income from the income information used on the FAFSA, due to a special circumstance, you may complete the Special Circumstance Petition form.

Will my 2019/2020 Financial Aid Awards be available earlier since the FAFSA will be available October 2018?

No. Disbursement of any financial aid awards will be done the first week of classes and throughout the semester as funds become available. However, award notification will begin mid-February 2019 for the 19/20 academic year but may include some estimated awards. Much of our funding is determined during the Legislative session, it is during these sessions that final award amounts are determined. The Legislative session usually lasts until late June, because of this some awards will be estimated and will be indicated as such on the award notifications. All awards should be finalized in June.

How can I get my 2017 Tax Transcript?

Transcripts are free from the IRS. To request transcripts online, go to and use the Order a Transcript tool. To order by phone, call 800-908-9946 and follow the prompts. To request a 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ tax return transcript by mail or fax, complete Form 4506T-EZ, Short Form Request for Individual Tax Return Transcript and mail or fax to the IRS.

When will I be able to sign my Master Promissory Note?

The University of New Mexico must send your federal student loan information to the U.S. Department of Education for review before your Master Promissory Note will be available to complete. The U.S. Department of Education allows schools to begin sending loan information on or after July 1st of each aid year, for 2019/2020 the earliest we can send loan information is July 1, 2018.

Will the IRS Data Retrieval Tool be available when the FAFSA becomes available on October 1, 2018

Yes. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool will be available when the 2019-2020 FAFSA processing begins on October 1, 2018. We highly recommend that students and parents transfer their tax information using the IRS Data Retrieval tool to reduce the chance for errors.

How do I use the IRS DRT?

Instructions for using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) can be found on at

If selected for FAFSA Verification and I’m required to submit my 2017 Tax Transcript, will the IRS be ready to accept IRS tax return transcript requests on October 1, 2018? 

Yes. The IRS has stated they will be prepared to respond to IRS Tax Return Transcript requests on and after October 1, 2018.


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