The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opens on Oct. 1 every year. Although the federal deadline gives you until June of the following year to submit, states and schools set much earlier deadlines. Instead of waiting until a FAFSA deadline approaches, it’s a better idea to submit this important form as close to Oct. 1 as possible.
If you apply early, not only will you meet all the various FAFSA deadlines, but you might also get more financial aid for college. Here are the details you should know about…
- When the FAFSA is due: 3 dates to know
- Why you should submit the FAFSA as soon as possible
- Upcoming changes to the FAFSA
- What else? FAFSA FAQs
- Tracking your deadlines and other next steps
Since some financial aid is doled out on a first-come, first-served basis, it’s a good idea to submit the FAFSA as soon as you can. This application becomes available on Oct. 1 every year. So if you’re an incoming college freshman, you could submit the FAFSA starting on Oct. 1 of your senior year in high school.
However, the FAFSA isn’t technically due then. If you need to wait, keep in mind these three FAFSA deadlines:
|School year||FAFSA start date||Federal FAFSA deadline|
|2021-22||Oct. 1, 2020||June 30, 2022|
|2022-23||Oct. 1, 2021||June 30, 2023|
Since the Department of Education offers the FAFSA funding, it also sets a deadline for the application. 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 2022-23 school year, for instance, became available on Oct. 1, 2021. It remains open until June 30, 2023. Plus, you can make corrections or updates until Sept. 10, 2023.
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,” says Mark Kantrowitz, financial aid expert and publisher of SavingforCollege.com. “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 since you’ll be submitting the FAFSA months ahead of it. But you do need to consider state and college FAFSA deadlines, both of which come up a lot sooner.
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 colleges, you’ll need to submit the FAFSA in time for them 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 FAFSA due date of Nov. 22, the same date its early-decision applications are due. If you’re applying by Tufts’ regular decision deadline of Feb. 1, you’ll also need to submit your FAFSA by Feb. 1.
At Tufts, as with some other colleges, your FAFSA deadline falls on the same day as or close to your college application deadline. However, you still might want to file the FAFSA months earlier to qualify for as much financial aid as possible from your state.
Finally, each state might also set its own FAFSA deadline for incoming college students. States have financial aid programs, especially for residents attending in-state public colleges, as well. Connecticut’s FAFSA deadline for the 2021-22 school year, for example, was Feb. 15, 2021, at least for priority consideration.
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,” says 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.”
Some states, like 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.
Find your state’s FAFSA deadline: The Department of Education maintains a list of every state’s FAFSA deadline. You can find the deadline for your state here.
Instead of asking, “When is the FAFSA due?” a better question would be, “When does the FAFSA become available?” It opens on Oct. 1 every year, so you should simply plan on submitting your application then.
Instead of waiting until your school, state or federal FAFSA deadline, try to file the FAFSA ASAP. You might start preparing your information in September so you can submit the application right after it opens in October.
Then, you won’t have to worry about all these FAFSA deadlines. Instead, you can focus your attention on applying for scholarships.
|Don’t forget your CSS Profile|
|Many colleges additionally require a form called the CSS Profile to distribute financial aid. Your college should state the CSS Profile deadline on the financial aid section of its website, but check with the financial aid office if you have questions about filling out the CSS Profile or when it is due.|
The FAFSA for the 2023-24 school year will look a little different than it did in previous years, thanks to the recent Consolidated Appropriations Act. Here are some changes to keep in mind, which will appear on the FAFSA that opens on Oct. 1, 2022.
1. The FAFSA will ask fewer questions
In an effort to simplify the FAFSA and make it more accessible for students and their families, lawmakers are reducing the number of questions it asks. Instead of 108 questions, this form may ask just 36.
What’s more, families might not have to use the IRS Data Retrieval tool to transfer their financial information. Instead, this data will be directly imported into the FAFSA from their tax return, whenever possible.
2. The Expected Family Contribution will get a new name
Expected Family Contribution (EFC) has long been a confusing term, so it’s getting a new name soon — the Student Aid Index (SAI). Rather than an indication of how much your family is expected to pay for college, the SAI indicates your financial need.
Moving forward, it will also be possible for a student’s Student Aid Index to be negative, a change that will help schools determine which students have the greatest financial need.
3. More students might be eligible for a Pell Grant (and amounts may increase)
The Pell Grant is a federal grant offered to students with the highest demonstrated financial need. Under the new Consolidated Appropriations Act, Pell Grant eligibility will expand to an estimated 1.7 million more students.
What’s more, the amount of the grant may increase. In 2020-21, for example, the Pell Grant maximum was $6,345, while the amount increased to $6,495 in 2021-22. It will likely increase again for the following school year.
4. Schools might take unemployment into account during a national emergency
Since so many people lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the new act is making it easier for schools to consider unemployment when calculating a student’s financial aid eligibility. Specifically, institutions can reevaluate a student’s eligibility for aid based on any unemployment benefits their family received during the national emergency.
If you think you might be eligible for more aid, reach out to your school’s financial aid office to discuss your situation.
Here are answers to a few frequently asked questions about the FAFSA. For more information, head to our comprehensive FAFSA FAQ.
When does the FAFSA become available?
The FAFSA becomes available on Oct. 1 each year.
When should you apply for the FAFSA?
Since some financial aid is doled out on a first-come, first-served basis, it’s a good idea to submit the FAFSA as close to the date it opens (Oct. 1) as possible. Applying early may help you get the most financial aid for college.
Should you submit the FAFSA before applying to college?
Many students submit the FAFSA before they’ve sent off their college applications. If you’re a senior in high school, for example, you might submit the FAFSA in October but submit your college applications in January or later. You can submit the FAFSA to the colleges you’re planning to apply to, but you can also add colleges later if you change your mind.
As mentioned, some colleges set their FAFSA deadlines on the same day as their application deadlines. So if you haven’t already submitted your FAFSA, you will likely want to do so by the time your college application deadline rolls around.
Can you make changes to the FAFSA?
Yes, it is possible to make changes to the FAFSA. In fact, you’re expected to update your FAFSA information if certain family circumstances have changed, such as the number of family members in your household. To update your information or correct an error, you can sign into your FAFSA with your FSA ID, click on “Make FAFSA Corrections” and resubmit the form.
When you’re applying for college, there are a lot of moving parts. Here are some next steps to keep in mind so you can stay organized and on track.
Write down your deadlines: Not only do you have to keep up with application deadlines, but you also have to think about when the FAFSA (and in some cases, the CSS Profile) is due. Look up the deadlines for all the schools you’re applying to and write them down in one place — like a notebook, spreadsheet or calendar.
Research whether you need to submit additional forms. Some schools also require the CSS Profile, for example. Look up the requirements for every school on your list to make sure you’re not missing out on any financial aid.
Apply for scholarships. Don’t wait to get your financial aid award before applying for scholarships. You can apply for scholarships throughout the college application process, as well as after you’ve already enrolled in college. Scholarships can help ease the financial burden, though it could be worth exploring whether your college practices scholarship displacement.
Compare your financial aid awards. Once you get your acceptance letters and financial aid packages, you can compare them to see which school would be the best fit for your budget. If your financial aid offer falls short, you might be able to appeal for more aid.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2022!
|1.19% – 11.98%1||Undergraduate|
|1.62% – 11.73%*,2||Undergraduate|
|0.94% – 11.44%3||Undergraduate|
|1.64% – 11.45%4||Undergraduate|
|1.89% – 11.92%5||Undergraduate|
|0.00% – 23.00%8||Undergraduate|
|* 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.
1 Important Disclosures for College Ave.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through Firstrust Bank, member FDIC, First Citizens Community 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.
Rates shown are for the College Ave Undergraduate Loan product and include autopay 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.
This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a first year graduate student borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 7.10% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $141.66 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $16,699.21. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.
Information advertised valid as of 4/19/2022. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Approved interest rate will depend on the creditworthiness of the applicant(s), lowest advertised rates only available to the most creditworthy applicants and require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.
2 Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
3 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.
Actual rate and available repayment terms will vary based on your income. Fixed rates range from 3.49% APR to 13.03% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Variable rates range from 1.19% APR to 10.14% APR (excludes 0.25% Auto Pay discount). Earnest variable interest rate student loan refinance loans are based on a publicly available index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The variable rate is based on the rate published on the 25th day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month, rounded to the nearest hundredth of a percent. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Although the rate will vary after you are approved, it will never exceed 36% (the maximum allowable for this loan). Please note, Earnest Private Student Loans are not available in Nevada.
4 Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Ascent loans are funded by Bank of Lake Mills, Member FDIC. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: AscentFunding.com/Ts&Cs
Rates are effective as of 05/01/2022 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 1.00% (for undergraduate outcomes income-based loans). Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: AscentFunding.com/Rates.
1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions, please visit AscentFunding.com/Cashback. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student borrowers must meet certain minimum credit criteria. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner. Lowest APRs are available for the most creditworthy applicants and may require a cosigner.
5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
UNDERGRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 3.47% to 11.16% annual percentage rate (“APR”) (with autopay), variable rates from 1.89% to 11.92% APR (with autopay). GRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.60to 11.06% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 2.59% to 11.82% APR (with autopay). PARENT LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.48% to 11.16% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.69% to 11.92% APR (with autopay). For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Lowest rates are reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. If approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, the repayment option you select, the term and amount of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. Information current as of 05/04/2022. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. Loans originated by SoFi Lending Corp. or an affiliate (dba SoFi), licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. NMLS #1121636 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org).
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Fixed interest rates range from 3.48% – 11.64% (3.48% – 10.78% APR).
Graduate Rate Disclosure: Fixed interest rates range from 4.89% – 11.64% (4.89% – 11.34% APR).
Business/Law Rate Disclosure: Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 10.39% (4.49% – 9.68% APR).
Medical/Dental Rate Disclosure: Fixed interest rates range from 4.43% – 9.19% (4.44% – 8.89% APR).
Parent Loan Rate Disclosure: Fixed interest rates range from 4.80%-8.23% (4.80%-8.24% APR).
Bar Study Rate Disclosure: Fixed interest rates range from 7.39% – 12.94% (7.40% – 12.83% APR).
Medical Residency Rate Disclosure: Fixed interest rates range from 6.99% – 10.49% (6.98% – 10.09% APR).
ERL Variable Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates are based on the 30-day average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (“SOFR”) index, as published by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. As of May 1, 2022, the 30-day average SOFR index is 0.29%. Variable interest rates will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the SOFR index, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. The maximum variable interest rate is the greater of 21.00% or the prime rate plus 9.00%.
Fixed Rate Disclosure: Fixed rate ranges are based on applicable terms, level of degree, and presence of a co-signer.
Lowest Rate Disclosure: Lowest rates are only available for the most creditworthy applicants, require a 5-year repayment term, immediate repayment, a graduate or medical degree (where applicable), and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer. Borrowers should carefully review federal benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are considering possible loan forgiveness options, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision on our website including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
Eligibility Criteria: Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen with a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer is required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. Citizens Bank private student loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/Promissory Note, verification of application information, and if applicable, self-certification form, school certification of the loan amount, and student’s enrollment at a Citizens Bank participating school.
Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
7 Important Disclosures for Funding U.
Funding U Disclosures
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are made by Funding University which is a for-profit enterprise. Funding University is not affiliated with the school you are attending or any other learning institution. None of the information contained in Funding University’s website constitutes a recommendation, solicitation or offer by Funding University or its affiliates to buy or sell any securities or other financial instruments or other assets or provide any investment advice or service.
8 Important Disclosures for Edly.
1. Loan Example:
About this example
The initial payment schedule is set upon receiving final terms and upon confirmation by your school of the loan amount. You may repay this loan at any time by paying an effective APR of 23%. The maximum amount you will pay is $22,500 (not including Late Fees and Returned Check Fees, if any). The maximum number of regularly scheduled payments you will make is 60. You will not pay more than 23% APR. No payment is required if your gross earned income is below $30,000 annually or if you lose your job and cannot find employment.
2. Edly Student IBR Loans are unsecured personal student loans issued by FinWise Bank, a Utah chartered commercial bank, member FDIC. All loans are subject to eligibility criteria and review of creditworthiness and history. Terms and conditions apply.