Here’s why you should submit your information before the FAFSA deadline

If college students were superheroes, the deadlines would be kryptonite.

But there are upcoming application deadlines for Federal Student Aid that you’ll want to add to your calendar now (yes, that’s a bit confusing, but we’ll explain that in a bit):

FAFSA deadline for the 2020-21 academic year: June 30, 2021.

FAFSA deadline for the 2021-22 academic year: June 30, 2022. “That deadline isn’t until next year!” You say. But the earlier you get your order, the more likely it is that you can still claim some of that money.

The first Application day for the 2022-23 academic year: October 1, 2021. Why should you care about the first day? Many schools give away their financial aid money within weeks (or days) of the FAFSA opening. So, even though the deadline won’t be until June 30, 2023, this is your chance to get your papers in order so you’ll be first in line for financial aid.

Wait – what is a FAFSA, again?

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

In simpler terms, the FAFSA is the form you fill out to get your financial information in one place. In turn, this information lets people with the money know that you need financial help, including federal student loans, scholarships, grants, or work and study opportunities.

Many states and colleges will use your FAFSA information to determine if you qualify for government or school aid, and some private providers also use it to see if you qualify for their financial aid.

You’ll want to check here for your state And with your college financial aid office on deadlines.

Filling out and submitting your FAFSA is completely free, and you shouldn’t skip it – even if the process seems intimidating. In past years, students all over the United States have I left up to $2.3 billion (yes, with a “B”) in student aid at the table By neglecting to fill in their financial information.

What FAFSA Deadlines Should I Know About?

The opening date for applying for the FAFSA each year is October 1 before the start of the school year (so for the 2021-22 school year, the FAFSA opened on October 1, 2020). This allows applicants plenty of time to submit their financial information before schools begin sending out offers of financial aid.

Applicants use financial information from the previous year’s tax season. This means that if you plan to attend college starting in the fall of 2021, you will use your 2019 tax information (or your parents’ information) (information they provided in early 2020).

The FAFSA application cycle lasts 21 months, opens on October 1 before the start of the school year and ends on June 30 of that academic year.

Confused yet? Yes, you and everyone else.

Since the full application period spans more than a year and a half for each academic year, many dates, deadlines, and application periods overlap. With a mixed schedule, it’s really easy to get overwhelmed and give up or forget about deadlines entirely.

Here is a breakdown to help you figure out which year form you should fill in the application deadline, using the financial information.

If you are going to college between: You must submit: Use of income and tax information from: sometime in between:
July 1, 2020-30 June 2021 2020-2021 FAFSA 2018 (submitted early 2019) October 1, 2019 – June 30, 2021
July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022 2021-2022 FAFSA 2019 (submitted early 2020) October 1, 2020-30 June 2022
July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023 2022-2023 FAFSA 2020 (introduced early 2021) October 1, 2021 – June 30, 2023
July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024 2023-2024 FAFSA 2021 (introduced early 2022) October 1, 2022 – June 30, 2024

Although you have a very wide window to submit your application, the earlier you submit it, the better your chances of getting offers of assistance. The federal deadline is in the summer, but most schools send in their offers of assistance during the preceding winter months.

“Every school has a priority deadline,” says Erin Dunn, director of financial aid and scholarships at the University of South Florida campus in St. Petersburg. When a student applies by the priority deadline, the maximum amounts and types of financial aid available are considered.

Although federal aid may still be offered until the June 30 deadline, you should check with your school of choice to find out when the FAFSA requires it to be submitted each year to be considered for school-related financial aid.

Why should I submit a FAFSA for the previous year distance Is the school year over?

But should you bother filling it up late?

“Sure, fill it in, because if you don’t try, you don’t know what you might qualify for,” Dunn says.

Even late in the year, you can get retroactive financial assistance, including Pell Grants or other forms of federal aid.

professional advice

If your financial situation has changed significantly in the last academic year, you can apply for 2020-2021 Corrected FAFSA By September 11, 2021. You will also need to contact your school’s financial aid office.

Plus, it takes about an hour to fill out the FAFSA – and we got that A guide to fill it out in eight easy steps.

Just remember, when it comes to the FAFSA, earlier is always better.

Next, fill out the separate 2021-2022 FAFSA (open since October 1, 2020).

Once you find out, you’ll be back on track and ready to fill out the 2022-2023 application once it opens in October.

Grace Schweitzer is an email content writer for The Penny Hoarder. Writer/Editor Tiffany Connors contributed to this post.

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