While there are many FAFSA deadlines, the best way for families to optimize free money and other financial aid they receive is to file the FAFSA® form soon after October 1.
While the financial aid office is always busy, we at ScholarNet know fall is one of the busiest times for you. A routine part of the season is reminding students and families to file the FAFSA® form and pay attention to its various deadlines. While most of this is routine for you, it’s good to remember that it may not be for your new staffers and prospective families.
Best Time for Filing the FAFSA® Form
Each year on October 1, Federal Student Aid releases the FAFSA® form for the upcoming year. States and individual colleges have their own deadlines that are usually earlier than the federal FAFSA deadline. Students and families will always stand the best chance of receiving as much in grants, scholarships, federal work-study, and federal student loans the sooner they file the FAFSA® form after October 1 for the upcoming academic year.
Generally speaking, if students and families apply shortly after October 1, 2021 for the 2022-23 academic year, they’ll meet state and individual college deadlines. Students can find their state FAFSA deadlines on FSA’s web page containing deadlines. For your college’s FAFSA deadline, contact the financial aid office.
Federal FAFSA Deadline as a Last Resort
If students need financial aid for the 2021-2022 academic year, they may apply until June 30, 2022 to receive retroactive grants and loans to help cover what they’ve already paid for fall and spring or to receive financial aid for summer school. It’s important to remind them that some financial aid may no longer be available by then, with federal work-study and state and institutional aid most likely to run out first.
Reminders to Share With Students About Filing the FAFSA® Form
- You only have to file the FAFSA® form once each academic year to be eligible for federal, state, and institutional aid – but you do need to file it each year you attend school in order to qualify.
- You should file the FAFSA® form as soon as possible after it opens on October 1 – even if you haven’t applied or decided on a college yet. To complete the form, you need to list at least one college you’re considering applying to, but it’s best to list all colleges you’re considering in order to be considered for all financial aid.
- If you apply to more colleges after you’ve already filed the FAFSA® form, you can add those later on in order to be considered for grants, scholarships, and other institutional aid.
- If you’re an out-of-state student, you may not qualify for state aid. Check with the state of the school you’re attending to see and make sure you file the FAFSA® form by that state’s deadline, if so.
- You may find that using the myStudentAid app for iOS or Android is the easiest way to complete or change your FAFSA.
- If you find you’ve made an error – or if yours or your family’s financial situation changes drastically after you’ve filed the FAFSA® form, submit corrections. You can learn more about making changes on FSA’s website.
- If you have coronavirus-related FAFSA questions, FSA has helpful information available on their website to answer those.