What is an academic year?
For FAFSA application purposes, an academic year is the 12 months from July 1st to June 30th.
An academic year most commonly consists of a summer term or summer session, followed by fall semester, and ending with a spring semester. Different colleges may divide up their academic year differently, though it is important to remember that for FAFSA application purposes, an academic year begins on July 1st, and ends on June 30th.
Academic years are usually referred to with two years in their name, because they start in one year and end in the next, but their duration is only 12 months. For example, the 2016-2017 academic year begins July 1, 2016 and ends June 30, 2017.