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The Urban School
of San Francisco
1563 Page Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
415 626 2919

Next Steps Blog


Changes in Financial Aid: An Introduction

by Susan Lee, Director of College Counseling

This is the year of change in college admissions - and financial aid is no exception. We want you to be aware of a couple of significant changes that have been announced by the federal government. The most notable change right now is the year considered in evaluating financial need for colleges. For the Class of 2016, the federal government will use the prior year’s financial information for consideration of aid for 2016 freshmen: tax year 2015. However, in subsequent years, they will begin using information from two years prior or “PPY” (Prior, prior year (!)

Confused? Let’s see how this plays out for Seniors - and then Juniors and the classes following.

Seniors (Class of 2016) applying for Financial Aid will apply as they have in previous years. The FAFSA form will be live on January 1, 2016 and the information that a family is asked to provide is based on 2015 income, assets, etc. Financial need and the financial aid award will be based on the 2015 information. However, students need to apply for financial aid every year and the changes will go into effect next year. So, next year, when an Urban Class of 2016 student applies as a freshman for their sophomore year aid, PPY will be in place. That means that 2015 information will again be considered to determine financial need and aid packages. For our seniors, 2015 financial information will be considered for two years.

Juniors (Class of 2017) applying for financial aid will be the first high school class to be applying with the new policies in place. The FAFSA form will be live and can be submitted to colleges earlier than before - October 1, 2016. With PPY, the information that families will be asked to provide will be based on tax year 2015 income, assets, etc. They will not consider 2016 financial information. Ideally, those students will know more about financial aid earlier in the process and the aid packages will be more accurate when they are awarded. But it is important to note that the information considered is information from 2 years prior.

These will be permanent changes and all classes after 2016 will be using PPY for consideration for federal student aid. We do not know yet what the CSS Profile (an application for institutional aid) will ask, but we will keep you updated.

As always, please contact Susan or Lauren if you have questions about any of this.
Posted by lgersick on Monday November, 30, 2015 at 12:00PM


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Susan Lee
Co-Director of College Counseling
415 593 9511

Lauren Gersick
Co-Director of College Counseling
415 593 9512

Leslie Schaffer
College Counseling Assistant
415 593 9519

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