As a student, you’re no stranger to deadlines. Whether it’s turning in a paper or applying to colleges, you always have a deadline looming over your head.
As it turns out, the application for financial aid is no different. But while other assignments have one deadline, the FAFSA has three. The FAFSA deadline set by the federal government is June 30, 2019, for the 2018-2019 school year, but colleges can set their own FAFSA deadlines that are earlier than the federal deadline. States also can set their own deadlines for students applying for state aid.
Students should make sure to submit the FAFSA no later than the federal, state, or school FAFSA deadline, whichever comes first. In fact, students should try to submit the FAFSA long before any deadlines since many types of financial aid are limited. Submitting the FAFSA as soon as possible after it becomes available will give students more options for aid.
This might sound confusing, but at least you have a strong incentive for submitting it on time: If you apply early, you might get more money for college.
When is FAFSA due?
Here are the three FAFSA deadlines you need to know about to qualify for financial aid.
1. The federal FAFSA due date
Since the Department of Education offers the FAFSA, it also sets a deadline for it. But this deadline is a long one — you’ll have access to the FAFSA for over a year and a half.
The FAFSA for the 2018-2019 school year, for instance, became available on Oct. 1, 2017. It will remain open until June 30, 2019. Plus, you can make corrections or updates until midnight on Sept. 14, 2019.
Most students file the FAFSA much closer to the date it opens than the date it closes. The main reason to file the FAFSA later in the school year would be if you had a major change in your financial circumstances.
“Students can file the FAFSA until the end of the academic year and still get some aid,” said financial aid expert Mark Kantrowitz. “This most often happens when a wealthy student has a change in family financial circumstances (e.g., death of a parent) that significantly affects their ability to pay for college.”
Unless you have a major change in your financial circumstances, you probably don’t need to worry about the federal FAFSA deadline. But you do need to consider state and college FAFSA deadlines, both of which come up a lot sooner.
2. The FAFSA deadlines are different for colleges
Colleges rely on the FAFSA to award financial aid. If you get into a school, you’ll likely see your financial aid package at the same time as your acceptance letter. So for many schools, you’ll need to submit the FAFSA in time for colleges to review your application and calculate your financial aid.
Each college sets its own deadline for the FAFSA. Note that a few schools also require the CSS Profile, another document that assesses your financial need. Head to the financial aid website of each college on your list to find its FAFSA deadlines.
Tufts University, for example, sets an early decision (ED) FAFSA due date of Nov. 15, two weeks after its ED applications are due. If you’re applying by Tufts’ regular decision deadline of Jan. 1, you’ll need to submit the FAFSA by Feb. 1.
At Tufts, as with some other colleges, your FAFSA deadline falls close to your college application deadline. But you might want to file the FAFSA months earlier to qualify for the most amount of financial aid from your state.
3. Your state has a FAFSA due date, too
Finally, each state also might set its own FAFSA deadline for incoming college students. States also have financial aid programs, especially for residents attending in-state public colleges. Connecticut’s FAFSA deadline for the 2018-2019 school year, for example, is Feb. 15, 2018.
To qualify for state financial aid, you need to file the FAFSA before the state deadline. In fact, the earlier you can submit your financial aid application the better, since some aid is given out on a first-come, first-served basis.
“Students should file the FAFSA as soon as possible on or after Oct. 1,” said Kantrowitz. “Students who file the FAFSA within the first three months (October, November, and December) tend to receive more than twice as much grant funding, on average, as students who file the FAFSA later.”
Illinois, Kentucky, and Oklahoma simply urge students to get the FAFSA in as soon as possible after Oct. 1. These states say awards are distributed until state financial aid funds are depleted.
Even though filling out the FAFSA can be time consuming, getting it done early is well worth the effort.
Submit the FAFSA as soon as possible
When is FAFSA due? There’s no one simple answer; you should be aware of all the FAFSA deadlines.
In most cases, you could wait until your college application deadlines to file the FAFSA. But then you’d have a ton of work on your plate, and you could miss out on some state aid.
Instead of waiting, try your best to file the FAFSA ASAP. You might start preparing your information in September so you can submit the application right after it opens on October 1.
Then, you won’t have to worry about all these FAFSA deadlines. Instead, you can focus your attention on applying to scholarships to get even more money for college.
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|2 Important Disclosures for College Ave.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
(1)All rates shown include the auto-pay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
(2)This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with an 8-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 7% variable Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 96 monthly payments of $179.28 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $17,211.20. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.
(3)As certified by your school and less any other financial aid you might receive. Minimum $1,000.
Information advertised valid as of 5/22/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
3 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
4 Important Disclosures for Discover.
5 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.
Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.
Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.
©2019 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
6 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.
Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.
Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.
Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.
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Citizens Bank Disclosures
|3.99% – 11.32%2||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.50% – 11.35%*,3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.84% – 13.49%4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.25% – 11.30%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.50% – 9.47%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.74% – 9.72%7||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.45% – 12.32%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|