Applying to college can feel like a whirlwind of paperwork, financial conversations, and lots of deadlines. For many families, those deadlines begin to become more of a burden than anything helpful. But, what if you knew that those deadlines could make a difference between your student paying for college and not being able to? Today, we’re sharing four financial aid deadlines for your student to know for college applications! These are important deadlines that could be the difference between getting the financial aid and support you need or not.
To get you started, here are some of the financial aid deadlines you and your student should be aware of:
Filing the FAFSA:
The starting point for most types of financial aid is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or the FAFSA. This will be available online October 1 for the 2023-24 academic year. This application may also meet the requirements for institutional and state financial aid, as well as some scholarships. Make sure you know what your student’s program wants. Technically you have until June 30 of next year to complete the FAFSA. But, it is always best to complete it as early as possible. Some financial aid programs have limited funds, and completing your form early on is the best way to be eligible for those funds.
Individual College Financial Aid Deadlines:
Every college your student applies to will have their own specific financial aid deadlines. Some may be earlier than you think! Many of them are actually in the fall, so take the time to find out those dates now – and you won’t be scrambling as your senior year begins. Note which documents they’ll want. Some want you to file the FAFSA, some want a CSS Profile, and others have financial aid applications of their own or require additional information. If there’s been any big changes at home (major job changes/loss, divorce, etc.) plan to gather documentation for those changes, too.
State Financial Aid Deadlines:
Each state has its own financial aid program, and has separate financial aid deadlines. These are crucial to mark down. Make sure your FAFSA is submitted before your state deadline so that you can be eligible for any state funds. Again, every little bit helps when paying for college!
Scholarships are also considered a form of financial aid. Unfortunately, finding and completing scholarship applications can be a lot of work. Deadlines fall throughout the year, so be sure to mark them all down clearly as you work to find additional money for school. Don’t forget – they might require different information than the financial aid forms, so it is best to leave plenty of time for this process as well!
How do you manage these deadlines?
Looking at all of those deadlines can be stressful! So, my biggest suggestion is to make sure you’re tracking all of those deadlines carefully. I often recommend setting up some type of scheduling system. It can be as simple as a giant wall calendar, or as sophisticated as an Excel spreadsheet. You can even use Google calendar and share it with your other family members. Whatever you do, it is also helpful to set a mental deadline of at least one week ahead of each of the official deadlines so that you leave yourself some wiggle room. That wiggle room can help make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
So get out the calendar and start planning your deadlines now, so you won’t be stretched thin in the heat of college applications. You’ll all be thankful you thought ahead!
Who are we?
CFAA helps with the financial aid process, from completing the FAFSA and completing the CSS Profile to reviewing the SAR, responding to requests for verification, 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.