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When Should I Complete the FAFSA?

helpareaderseriesThis is a common question that I encounter on a regular basis. Based upon it’s continued recurrence, I believe that CheapScholar.org is a great forum to provide an appropriate response.

My quick answer is always “YESTERDAY”. While my response is meant to reflect the urgency of completing the FAFSA, there is a much more logical answer that I immediately follow-up with.

Families can start completing the FAFSA on January 1st. The most efficient manner to do this is electronically at FAFSA.ED.GOV. However, I am guessing that very few families actually submit a FAFSA on January 1st since most of the data requested is driven by your tax return. The long answer to when you should complete your FAFSA can be spelled out via a couple methods.

Method 1
If you are a student that is applying to multiple colleges, you will need to research the deadlines imposed by each institution and then pick the earliest one as your target date for completing the FAFSA. If you don’t have your taxes done, don’t worry, you can always estimate your income on the FAFSA and come back and update the figures later (after you have finished filing your taxes).

Method 2
Each state provides a deadline for filing the FAFSA in order to be eligible to receive their funds. A chart with these various deadlines is provided below.

You can utilize Method 1 or 2 when setting a target date to have your FAFSA completed. The important thing to remember is that many Universities and Colleges provide financial aid on a first come first serve basis. This is not to say that you won’t receive any funding for filing your FAFSA late in the game, you just may not receive as much as someone that processed their FAFSA by the appropriate deadlines.

Hope this information is helpful to our readers as you are traversing the world of financial aid.

Alabama Check with your financial aid administrator
Alaska April 15, 2010 @
American Samoa Check with your financial aid administrator*
Arizona Check with your financial aid administrator
Arkansas For Academic Challenge – June 1, 2010 @
For Workforce Grant – check with your financial aid administrator
For Higher Education Opportunity Grant – June 1, 2010 (fall term) @; November 1, 2010 (spring term) @
California For initial awards – March 2, 2010 +*
For additional community college awards – September 2, 2010 – date postmarked +*
Colorado Check with your financial aid administrator
Connecticut February 15, 2010 #*
Delaware April 15, 2010 @
District of Columbia June 30, 2010 @#*
Federated States of Micronesia Check with your financial aid administrator*
Florida May 15, 2010 – date processed
Georgia Check with your financial aid administrator
Guam Check with your financial aid administrator*
Hawaii Check with you financial aid administrator*
Idaho Opportunity Grant – March 1, 2010 @#*
Illinois As soon as possible after January 1, 2010. Awards made until funds are depleted.
Indiana March 10, 2010 &
Iowa July 1, 2010 @
Kansas April 1, 2010 @#*
Kentucky March 15, 2010 &#
Louisiana July 1, 2010 @
Maine May 1, 2010 @
Marshall Islands Check with your financial aid administrator*
Maryland March 1, 2010 &
Massachusetts May 1, 2010 @#
Michigan March 1, 2010 &
Minnesota 30 days after term starts @
Mississippi MTAG and MESG Grants – September 15, 2010 @#
HELP Scholarship – March 31, 2010 @#
Missouri April 1, 2010 @#
Montana March 1, 2010 #&
Nebraska Check with your financial aid administrator*
Nevada Check with your financial aid administrator*
New Hampshire May 1, 2010 @
New Jersey 2009-2010 Tuition Aid Grant recipients – June 1, 2010 @
All other applications – October 1, 2010, for fall and spring terms @;
March 1, 2011, for spring term only @
New Mexico Check with your financial aid administrator*
New York May 1, 2011 @+*
North Carolina Check with your finanacial aid administrator
North Dakota March 15, 2010 &
Northern Mariana Islands Check with your financial aid administrator*
Ohio October 1, 2010 @
Oklahoma April 15, 2010 @#
Oregon OSAC scholarship – March 1, 2010
Oregon Opportunity Grant – check with your financial aid adminstrator
Palau Check with your financial aid administrator*
Pennsylvania All 2009-2010 State Grant recipients and all non-2009-2010 State Grant recipients in degree programs – May 1, 2010 @*
All other applicants – August 1, 2010 @*
Puerto Rico Check with your financial aid administrator
Rhode Island March 1, 2010 &#
South Carolina Tuition Grants – June 30, 2010 @
SC Commission on Higher Education – no deadline
South Dakota Check with your financial aid administrator*
Tennessee For State Grant – February 15, 2010 @#
For State Lottery – September 1, 2010 @#
Texas Check with your financial aid administrator*
U.S. Virgin Islands Check with your financial aid administrator*
Utah Check with your financial aid administrator
Vermont Check with your financial aid administrator*
Virginia Check with your financial aid administrator*
Washington Check with your financial aid administrator
West Virginia April 15, 2010 @#*
Wisconsin Check with your financial aid administrator
Wyoming Check with your financial aid administrator*

* Additional form may be required. Contact your financial aid administrator or your state agency.
^ Applicants encouraged to obtain proof of mailing.
# For priority consideration, submit application by date specified.
@ Deadline by midnight, Central Daylight Time.
& Deadline by midnight, Central Standard Time.

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