Applying to college can be a fraught process, with most of the attention focused on writing essays or completing the application in the most impressive way possible. In partnership with this, students and parents usually begin to concentrate on completing the FAFSA and completing the CSS Profile sometime in October.
It is always best to be well ahead of a deadline, but some students do ask what the latest deadline is to submit an application and maintain financial aid eligibility. They may want to fine-tune some of their answers, or need more time to gather necessary support documentation. Waiting until the last minute might affect some of your financial aid eligibility, but it is better than not submitting the FAFSA at all. Here are different types of admissions and financial aid deadlines to keep in mind:
College Admissions Deadlines
There are different types of deadlines to get your admissions application submitted to each college on your list. The deadlines most students know are:
- Early Decision: This is the way to go if you absolutely have your heart set on one particular college, and will definitely want to attend if you are accepted. Most deadlines for Early Decision I applications are between November 1 and 15. Some colleges also offer Early Decision II opportunities, with deadlines often at the beginning of January, but you are still committed to attending this college. Check your school’s website for their exact dates.
- Early Action: This approach also has relatively early deadlines, but it allows you to apply to more than one college if you have not made your final decision. Early Action I deadlines may be anywhere from November through December, with some Early Action II deadlines in January and February.
- Regular Decision: If you are still working through your selection process, most regular decision deadlines fall somewhere in early to late January; however, you will receive a later notice of acceptance.
- Rolling Admissions: Some colleges use a rolling admissions system, where they review applications as they are received and make a faster acceptance decision. If your preferred college uses this strategy, you still want to apply as early as possible.
Financial Aid Deadlines
The FAFSA for 2022-23 is available from October 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022, but the reality is that high school seniors just applying to college will probably need to complete it much, much earlier. Here are the financial aid deadlines you need to know:
- School Financial Aid Deadline: Each college can set its own deadline for receiving your financial aid application, independent of their admission application deadlines, so they can send financial aid offers along with their acceptance notice. Some students may find that their financial aid deadline is as early as November 1.
- State Financial Aid Deadline: Many states offer financial aid to encourage students to attend their colleges. They also use the FAFSA to make this determination. Most state deadlines are in the first quarter of 2022, but note that some do advise applicants to file as early as possible after October 1 as their funding is limited.
Also be sure to check your college’s financial aid website page to see if they require the CSS Profile or any other financial aid application forms. In any case, you do not want to wait until the last minute to submit any of your applications. This puts too much pressure on you, and allows anything that can go wrong to definitely go wrong. Leave yourself time to make corrections or submit additional information as needed.
Another biggie on the application list is scholarships. Look for those in your local community or field of interest, and find out their application deadlines as well.
CFAA is here to help with every step of the financial aid process, including submitting your personal financial aid applications in a timely manner. Set up a CFAA new client free strategy session 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 weekly JustAskJodi emails and check out my monthly CFAA e-newsletter