3 FAFSA® Deadlines You Need to Know Now
This article refers to the 2023–24 FAFSA® form. The 2024–25 FAFSA form will be available in December 2023, not Oct. 1. Check out our video about 2024–25 FAFSA updates.
When you’re busy with classes, extracurricular activities, and a social life, it’s easy to let the three Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) due dates pass. We get it.
However, you need to know about these FAFSA deadlines:
- The college deadline
- The state deadline
- The federal deadline
We’re here not only to point out these critical commitments but also to warn you about what happens when you miss them.
The College Deadline
The first due date comes from colleges themselves. Spoiler alert! It’s typically early. College deadlines vary from school to school, but they usually come well before the academic year starts. If you’re applying to multiple colleges, look up each school’s FAFSA® deadline and apply early.
Many college FAFSA due dates have priority deadlines, which means you need to submit your FAFSA form by that date to potentially receive the most money from the college. Many colleges have this date clearly marked on their financial aid webpages. If you can’t find it, call the school’s financial aid office.
If you’re worried about gathering information to complete the FAFSA form in time to meet this deadline, don’t be. For the 2023–24 FAFSA form, you can apply right now. You’ll need to use your 2021 tax information.
If you haven’t figured out where you’re applying yet, don’t worry! You can still submit the FAFSA form. Just list any school you’re considering, even if you’re not sure whether you’ll apply. You can always add schools to or remove schools from your FAFSA form later.
The State Deadline
The second deadline is set by your home state. Make sure to check your state’s deadline. Some states have hard deadlines, while others suggest dates to make sure you get priority consideration for college money. Many states have limited funds, so their FAFSA deadlines may be quite early. So you should always get your FAFSA form submitted ASAP.
The Federal Deadline
This last deadline comes from us, the U.S. Department of Education, aka the FAFSA folks. Our only time limit is that each year the FAFSA form for that particular academic year becomes unavailable after June 30.
That means that the 2023–24 FAFSA form will disappear from StudentAid.gov on June 30, 2024, because that’s the end of the 2023–24 school year. That’s right—you can technically go through your entire year at college before accessing the FAFSA form. But earlier deadlines from states and colleges make waiting a bad idea.
Why are there so many due dates?
Each of these entities—college, state, and federal—awards financial aid differently and at different times. What they all have in common, though, is that they use the FAFSA form to see whether you’re eligible for their aid programs.
So, when a college wants to offer its aid before the academic year starts, it needs your FAFSA form. If you want in on that money to help you pay for college, you need to meet the deadline. The same goes for state aid programs.
Additionally, many outside scholarship programs need to see your FAFSA form before they consider your application. If you’re applying for scholarships, you need to stay on top of those deadlines, too.
What happens if I miss the deadlines?
Don’t miss the deadlines. Plan to submit your FAFSA form by the earliest due date for your best chance at financial aid. Missing deadlines takes you out of the running for money you could get. Some states and colleges continue to award aid to FAFSA latecomers, but your chances get much slimmer, and the payout is often lower.
If you miss the end-of-June federal deadline, you’re no longer eligible to submit that year’s FAFSA form. Did we mention you shouldn’t miss the deadlines?
As the saying goes, “the sooner the better.” So, turn in your FAFSA form as soon as possible.