All About FAFSA Deadlines

Boxes with a blue X's inside.

Flickr user hisham_hm

When it comes to completing and submitting the FAFSA, you have to be super careful about every little aspect, especially the deadlines. Filling in wrong information may render your application invalid and if you miss the deadline, you can be sure that it will not even be accepted.

To make it even more complicated, you have to pay attention to more than one deadline date for submitting the FAFSA—one is the college deadline, the second is the state deadline and the third is the federal deadline.

Here’s why there are three different deadlines for the FAFSA application and what this means for you.

College Deadlines

It’s a little-known fact that every college has their own FAFSA deadline, which may be different from that of other colleges. This is because each college has their own process and timeline for allotting available funds to students.

What this means for you is, you must check the FAFSA deadline for each of the colleges you are applying to and consider the earliest date as your deadline for submitting the FAFSA.

You can find this deadline mentioned on each school’s financial aid page. If it isn’t mentioned on their website, call the college’s financial aid office and ask them. This is most important as applying after their deadline means you will lose out on any financial aid from that college.

If you are considering a college with an early FAFSA deadline but not yet 100% sure that you want to apply to that institution, you should still try to submit the FAFSA form before their deadline and add their name on the form anyway. You can always add or remove colleges from your FAFSA list later.

State Deadlines

Just like college deadlines, every state too has their own financial aid deadline. When submitting the FAFSA form, you must make sure that you do this before your home state deadline. You can find these deadlines mentioned here on the FAFSA website.

In addition to different deadlines, each state also has different priority considerations for allocating college money. It is important to read and understand what your state’s priority considerations are in order to boost your chances of getting the maximum amount of state-awarded financial aid that you are entitled to.

For example, some states start awarding financial aid funds on a first come first served basis, until the funds run out. This means, the earlier you apply, the better your odds of getting the full amount you are entitled to.

The Federal Deadline

You can fill the FAFSA form and submit it at any time during the academic year but, as with any other type of financial aid, the earlier the better. There is just one time constraint associated with the FAFSA deadline. The form becomes unavailable to students on June 30th for that particular academic year. This means if you are applying for college in the year 2017, you can fill the FAFSA form any time till June 30th 2018 for the academic year 2017-2018. It is closed after that and will only reopen for the next academic year 2018-2019.

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