Ah, deadlines: sworn enemy of students across the nation. When you’re busy with classes, extracurricular activities, and a social life, it’s easy to let the three Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) due dates you need to know about – 1. the college deadline, 2. The state deadline, and 3. The federal deadline –whoosh by. Exam, term paper, Spanish club meeting…We get it.
Nevertheless, we’re here to point out a few more critical commitments to add to your calendar: FAFSA deadlines. Read on to find out what happens if you miss them.
1. The College Deadline
The first type of due date comes from colleges themselves, and—spoiler alert—it’s typically early. College deadlines vary from school to school, but usually come well before the academic year starts. If you’re applying to multiple colleges, look up each school’s FAFSA deadline and apply by the earliest one.
Many college FAFSA due dates are priority deadlines. This means that you need to get your FAFSA form in by that date to be considered for the most money. Many colleges have this date clearly marked on their financial aid webpages. If you can’t find it, you can always call the school’s financial aid office.
2. The State Deadline
The second deadline is set by your home state. Some states have hard deadlines and others have suggested dates to make sure you get priority consideration for college money. Many states have limited funds, so their FAFSA deadlines may be quite early. If your state’s deadline is “as soon as possible after Oct. 1” like Missouri’s is, you should get your FAFSA form submitted ASAP. Many of these states have limited funds and offer financial aid only until they run out, so the sooner you apply, the better your chances.
3. The Federal Deadline
This last deadline comes from us, the U.S. Department of Education, aka the FAFSA folks. Our only time constraint is that each year’s FAFSA form is no longer available after June 30 for that particular academic year.
That means that the 2022–23 FAFSA form will disappear from StudentAid.gov on June 30, 2023, because that’s the end of the 2021–22 school year. That’s right—you can technically go through your entire year at college before accessing the FAFSA form. However, a few federal student aid programs have limited funds, so be sure to apply as soon as you can. Also, as we said, earlier deadlines from states and colleges make waiting a bad idea.
Why so many due dates?
Each of these entities awards financial aid differently and at different times. What they all have in common, though, is that they use the FAFSA form to see whether you’re eligible for their aid programs. So when a college wants to offer its aid before the academic year starts, it needs your FAFSA form to do so. If you want in on that money to help you pay for college, you need to meet the deadline. The same goes for state aid programs. Additionally, many outside scholarship programs need to see your FAFSA info before they will consider your application. You need to stay on top of those scholarship deadlines, too.
What happens if I miss the deadlines?
Don’t miss the deadlines. Plan to get your FAFSA form in by the earliest of all the due dates for your best crack at college money. By missing deadlines, you take yourself out of the running for money you might otherwise get. If you miss the end-of-June federal deadline, you’re no longer eligible to submit that year’s FAFSA form. Did we mention you shouldn’t miss the deadlines? As the saying goes, “the sooner the better.” So turn in your FAFSA form (and that term paper!) as soon as possible.
If you’ve exhausted all the resources for financial aid
Private student loans can fill the gap that is left between the Cost of Attendance (COA) and the Federal loans/aid you’ve received. Private loans are not offered through the federal government, so it’s important to look for a loan program from an institution you trust, like your credit union’s Student Choice solution. These loans are in the name of the student but often require a co-signer. They are not guaranteed or subsidized by the government. Instead, they are based on the credit qualifications of the student and/or the credit qualifications of any co-signer they have on the loan.
For more information about the FAFSA, federal student loans, and other programs, please take a look at the links below: