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Admissions and Financial Aid Deadlines

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Admissions and Financial Aid Deadlines October is the beginning of the financial aid season, but when does it end? What are your deadlines when it comes to college applications? There are two main types of deadlines families have to keep in mind: admissions and financial aid. These intertwine with each other, so it is important to understand both of them.

College Admissions Deadlines

These are deadlines when your student needs to have the admissions side of the college entrance process completed. It means that the tests, letters of recommendations, and admissions package all have to be in order. Various types of admissions deadlines include:

      • Early Decision: Early decision deadlines are usually applicable when your student is very sure about which college to attend. You apply to only one college, and acceptance is binding, so you agree to enroll if admitted and withdraw applications at other colleges. These deadlines are frequently quite early – usually in November, so there is not much time left to complete this process.
      • Early Action: Early action has a similar early application deadline, but it is non-binding. Deadlines traditionally fall around November as well, but the student is still free to apply to other colleges. You don’t have to commit to a particular school if admitted. There may be some distinctions like Early Action I and Early Action II, depending on the college.
      • Single Choice Early Action: Not quite as common, this option is non-binding but exclusive. Students apply on an early basis to only one college, but they do not have to enroll if accepted. Here again, deadlines will be quite early.
      • Regular Decision: These are the standard admissions deadlines, which are non-binding and non-exclusive. Deadlines usually occur between December and January, but some can occur in November, so check your college’s website information.
      • Rolling Admissions: Some colleges have made the process a little easier with a non-binding rolling admissions process. This means there are no exact deadlines, and students can apply well into their senior year and even as late as the summer before the fall semester begins. The warning here is that colleges will only accept candidates until their class is filled, so your student may lose a spot if the class fills early.

College Financial Aid Deadlines

There are different types of financial aid and different types of deadlines. The best advice is to always apply early, so as not to miss out on any opportunities. Although the FAFSA can actually be completed until June of the year before the semester begins, some programs have limited funding availability. Types of financial aid deadlines include:

      • Institutional: Many students are surprised to find that their college has a financial aid application deadline. This may be based on the type of admissions application. If your student has applied for early decision admissions, the college may have an early financial aid deadline as well. Check the college’s financial aid web page to be sure you understand the deadlines.
      • State: States have their own financial aid programs and set priority deadlines by which you must submit the FAFSA form to be considered for the aid programs they administer. Although some might go into the next calendar year, a surprising number of states also want you to file the FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1.

Be aware that the college might require the CSS Profile or additional financial aid information by the stated deadline as well.

Another type of deadline is the scholarship deadline. This is also important in finding money to help pay for college. Scholarships comes in all shapes and sizes, and have deadlines that start early in your student’s educational career, and run right through the college years.

CFAA is there for the entire financial aid process, from completing the FAFSA and completing the CSS Profile to comparing financial aid offers and understanding student loan options. Schedule a CFAA new client free strategy session or a 15 Minute Power Chat to learn more about finding ways to pay for college. To get the latest financial aid information and college application to-do lists, look for my bi-weekly JustAskJodi emails and check out my monthly CFAA e-newsletter.

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