Each year, the CCP counselors travel throughout the state of New Hampshire providing over 300 presentations in public, private, and charter high schools. We love when families ask us questions, and in this e‑newsletter feature we share one of those questions with you. For further clarification, please call us at 888.747.2382, ext. 119.
We are often asked this question during our financial aid presentations: “I heard that financial aid is given on a ‘first‑come, first‑served basis. Is this true?”
The simple answer is “No”. If a student is eligible for federal financial aid (i.e. Pell grant, Federal Direct student loans, and/or Federal Work‑Study) then as long as they complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), he or she will receive all appropriate federal aid, regardless of when they submit the FAFSA.
However, there are 13 states in the United States (not including New Hampshire) where state grant or scholarship aid that is given on a first‑come, first‑serve basis ‑ so it makes sense that the messaging from post‑secondary institutions to students is ‘file early’ to ensure prospective students qualify for possible state direct‑to‑student aid.
With respect to coveted institutional aid, merit money is not ‘first‑come, first‑served’; most schools use a priority deadline system for need‑based aid. According to Kalman Chany, president of Campus Consultants Inc. and author of The Princeton Review’s Paying for College Without Going Broke, “Most schools now set a priority filing deadline, and if you file by that date you’re treated the same whether you filed months before or shortly before the deadline.”