Families who will file the FAFSA this fall should know what dates matter for which data inputs. Income is prior-prior year (meaning most recently filed tax return), assets are “day of” and then there’s the matter of education tax credits such as the American Opportunity Tax Credit.

This chart shows what data is used each year:

The 2020 tax year, which for a senior started Jan. 1 of sophomore year, is used for this year’s FAFSA. Assets are valued on the day the FAFSA is filed.

Want to put this to work for you? Sign up for The College Financial Plan masterclass. You’ll develop a detailed financial plan for college, learn strategies to maximize financial aid and merit scholarships, find out how to qualify for tax credits and other benefits, and get your student a great college education at a price that won’t knock your family’s other financial goals off the rails. Sign up now! Introductory price of $250 through Sept. 19, 2021.