It’s FAFSA season ‑ the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now open! For the next four months, we will be chronicling the need-to-know information about filing the FAFSA: beginning with deadlines. One of the questions we hear most often in the Center for College Planning is, “when do I need to submit the FAFSA?” Our response typically is, “we don’t know because the deadline is different at each school.”
It is important to understand that your calendar may look different from your friends’ calendars! Financial aid deadlines are not one-size-fits-all; a few factors determine your timeline:
1. HOW and WHERE are you applying?
Financial aid deadlines vary depending on the type of school and the admissions deadline. For example, most community colleges have rolling admissions deadlines with financial aid deadlines in the spring, whereas an early decision or early action deadline of November 1 means forms are due in the fall. It is conceivable that each school on your list could have a different deadline, so be sure to track them!
2. WHEN is the college’s deadline?
Sometimes we hear students say, “if I do not file the FAFSA immediately on October 1, I will miss the deadline!” or “the FAFSA closes in the summer, so I do not have to file the FAFSA until then.” It is important to recognize that there are federal deadlines and institutional deadlines. For example, if you wait until the summer to file the FAFSA because the form remains open, you will likely miss the institutional deadline. The college’s deadline is the one that you should follow ‑ check the financial aid websites of EACH college you apply to and discover what forms you need and when you need to submit them. We always recommend completing the FAFSA (and CSS Profile, if required) before the earliest college deadline.
The counselors at the Center for College Planning are available to file the FAFSA with you and your family! Although we are not accepting in-person appointments, we would be thrilled to connect over Zoom; call us at 888.747.2382 ext.119 to schedule your FREE appointment today!