FAFSA helps students all across America — students just like you — find funding and pay for school with less stress. The American government uses the information you provide on your FAFSA application to assess your eligibility for financial aid across nearly $150 billion worth of programs. With just a single form, you become eligible for hundreds of grants, loans, and work-study opportunities.
Unfortunately, applying for FAFSA can be a confusing process. Deadlines differ nationally, state-to-state, and even between program start times. This can lead students to apply too late or too early, which may result in unnecessary rejections or financing delays. Keep reading to learn how to find your FAFSA application deadline and ensure you submit your application on time.
Ready to take on the challenge of secondary education? Whether you’re planning to study at an online school or a brick and mortar university, having the right financial support can be the difference between success and failure. If you’re struggling with finance gaps, filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can help. Use these quick tips below to determine when — and how — to fill out your FAFSA forms. Check College, State, and Federal deadlines before checking with the financial aid office, if need be.
Find Your Fafsa Deadline With These Four Tips.
Check the Federal Deadline
The most important FAFSA deadline for all students is the federal deadline for applications. It occurs in two stages and changes year-to-year. For award applications submitted between 2018 and 2019, (typically for programs starting in fall 2019), the federal deadline is 12:00 a.m. CST, June 30, 2019. You have extra time — up until 12:00 a.m. CST September 14, 2019 — to make corrections to your application if you realize you made a mistake.
Additionally, federal FAFSA deadlines do not take the place of state or school-based deadlines. Be sure to confirm them well before you intend on applying.
Check Your State’s Deadline
State FAFSA deadlines vary dramatically state-to-state. To determine your state’s FAFSA deadline, use this handy online tool at FAFSA.gov. It takes just a few seconds and two pieces of information to see the current year’s FAFSA deadlines.
For the purposes of eligibility, FAFSA asks that you only input your legal state of residence. This means you should only list your permanent home state, not temporary residences (including states you move to for school).
If you spend time in multiple states, list the state you spend the greatest amount of time in throughout the year. If you moved for school, but are now permanently living in the new state, list that state in the dropdown box within the tool instead.
When FAFSA Doesn’t Have State Deadline Information
In some cases, you may receive a message to contact your school administrator. This indicates variation in state deadlines, even within the state. The tool may also show that other forms are required, or that funds have been depleted for the current year. It’s best to speak with your school directly to confirm a deadline when FAFSA doesn’t have the information.
Check College-Specific Deadlines
FAFSA’s tool also reminds students that each college, university, and school often have their own deadlines for applications throughout the year. By only paying attention to federal and state deadlines, you run the risk of missing important deadlines. Even if you’re sure you know when and how to apply, you should contact your school and ask for other deadlines or information you may need.
Federal, state, and school-specific FAFSA deadlines can be generous, allowing you to apply for aid up until just a few months before you start your program. But that doesn’t mean you should put off applying. FAFSA recommends applying just under a year in advance, when the application season starts on October 1. Applying early and accurately will ensure programs and schools see your application before thousands of others begin to arrive.