The federal deadline for FAFSA is June 30 each year, meaning if you need financial aid for the 2021—2022 school year, you have until June 30, 2021 to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
Beginning with the 2019—20 FAFSA, you will be able to submit your FAFSA as early as October 1 preceding the year for which you need aid.
The Department of Education deems an application’s receipt date and time to be when the application (correction, if any) has been successfully submitted.
When should FAFSA be completed? #
|Academic year||FAFSA open date||Federal FAFSA deadline|
|2020—2021||Oct. 1, 2019||June 30, 2021|
|2021—2022||Oct. 1, 2020||June 30, 2022|
In general, most schools, agencies and scholarship providers will expect that your financial aid applications are completed no later than June 30 or filed no later than April 1 in order to meet the “priority” deadline.
Here’s a complete, state-by-state list of financial aid deadlines
What does priority deadline for FAFSA mean? #
Priority deadline is a date to apply by to be considered for and have the best chance for receiving financial aid. Some aid is very limited so meeting the priority deadline gives you more of a chance if you are eligible.
States and individual colleges set their own FAFSA deadlines that are typically much earlier than the federal one, with the earliest on Feb. in Oregon and Connecticut, quickly followed by California, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland and Michigan in early March, to name a few.
There are also thirteen (13) states that award state grants on a first-come, first-served basis until the money runs out:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
With the switch to an earlier FAFSA open date, it’s wise to check with the financial aid office of the school(s) you are interested in attending as each school may have a different deadline for FAFSA.
You may also want to ask your school about their definition of an application deadline — whether it is the date they receive your FAFSA, or the date your FAFSA is processed so you can be absolutely sure your forms are submitted on time.
What if I missed the FAFSA deadline? #
As long as your FAFSA is submitted by the federal deadline of June 30, you may be qualified to receive federal grants, loans and other financial aid. If you miss your state’s deadline, you may still qualify for federal aid, but not for state-funded aid programs.
Regardless what your state and college require in terms of deadline, it’s almost always in your best interest to submit your FAFSA as soon as it becomes available on October 1 before the state runs out of aid.