When Is the FAFSA Deadline?

by Nick

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What is the FAFSA deadline?

The FAFSA deadline is the latest date by which students applying for federal student aid should have filled in and submitted their FAFSA forms.

Exactly when is the FAFSA deadline?

In order to understand when the FAFSA deadline is, you need to appreciate that federal student aid is normally requested for, through the FAFSA, within the context of ‘application periods.’ The application periods correspond to academic years. The application period for a given academic year starts on the 1st of January that year – regardless of which months the respective colleges’ academic years start. From that 1st day of January, the application period is 18 months: that is, up to June the next year. That, then, is the latest date by which a FAFSA form for a given year can be accepted by the processing agencies. But that is just the federal deadline. You have to remember that the FAFSA is also the form used in making decisions on the award of state-sponsored student aid and college-sponsored student aid. The respective states and colleges tend to have their own FAFSA deadlines. That is what brings about the variations in FAFSA deadlines between states and between colleges – meaning that you shouldn’t simply assume that the 18 months federal processing duration for a given application period will be applicable across the board automatically. In fact, that is hardly ever the case.

Where can one get information about the FAFSA deadline?

One of the best resources to go to, when looking for information about the FAFSA deadline, is the sub-site within the Department of Education dealing with and devoted exclusive to matters related to FAFSA: www.fafsa.ed.gov. You can also talk to the folks in your college’s – or in your prospective college’s – student finance office, to get information on the FAFSA deadline.

Can the FAFSA deadline be extended?

Generally no. The 18-month duration given by the federal government within a given year is particularly rigid and, in any event, it is too long a period of time for any serious person to be asking for extensions. Even where there is room for flexibility in the deadlines given by states and colleges for the submission of FAFSA forms, it is best to assume that such flexibility doesn’t exist and try to abide by the deadline, if you want to be on the safe side.

What else should I know about the FAFSA deadline?

You should appreciate that although the FAFSA deadline is the latest date by which FAFSA forms are accepted, it is by no means the ideal date to submit the form. Given the fact that student aid applications are typically dealt with on a first come first served basis, you should submit yours as early as possible, rather than waiting for a period just before the deadline. You can view the deadlines over here.

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