Getting ready to head to college can be busy and hectic. But before you ever register for classes, pick a major, or pack for your dorm room, you’ll need to file a FAFSA.
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on time should be at the top of your college-prep checklist. You must file a FAFSA (or FAFSA renewal) each school year to access federal student aid. But the FAFSA is also used to determine your eligibility for student aid offered by states and colleges.
So when is the FAFSA due? There are actually three major FAFSA due dates for different types of student aid: your college’s deadline, your state’s deadline, and the federal deadline for the FAFSA. Here’s how to figure out when each FAFSA is due.
Your College FAFSA Deadline
The FAFSA opens on Oct. 1 for the following school year. For example, students could have filed their applications for the 2021-22 school year as early as Oct. 1, 2020. It’s a good idea to complete the FAFSA as soon after Oct. 1 as possible if you’re hoping to receive grants or scholarships from your college.
Many schools set FAFSA priority deadlines, which is when the FAFSA is due if you want to maximize your consideration for student aid from your college. Each college sets its own FAFSA priority deadline. Some colleges’ FAFSA deadlines are as early as Nov. 1, a month after the form opens, and others are as late as Aug. 1, right before the school year begins.
With this wide range of deadlines, it’s best to check your school’s calendar or ask the financial aid office so you know your college’s FAFSA due date.
State FAFSA Deadlines
Most state student aid programs require you to file a FAFSA, but each state sets its own FAFSA deadline. Here are some key points to keep in mind as you look into state student aid and FAFSA deadlines:
- Some states require students to submit additional forms to be considered for state student aid, and others don’t.
- Some states accept FAFSAs and award aid—until funds run out. Submitting a FAFSA early will improve your chances of receiving aid.
- Some states set priority deadlines for the FAFSA (similar to colleges). You’ll have a better chance of receiving aid if you apply by the priority deadline, but you can still apply between the priority and regular deadlines.
- Some states have separate deadlines for specific grant or aid programs, so keep that in mind as you’re prioritizing your college-prep to-dos.
- Watch out for “processed by” deadlines. For example, Florida’s FAFSA deadline is the date by which your form must be processed, not just submitted.
Check your state’s student aid office for information and deadlines to apply, and don’t hesitate to reach out to your college’s financial aid office for further assistance and information.
Here’s an overview of state student aid and FAFSA deadlines for the 2021-22 school year.
|State||State FAFSA Deadline|
|Alabama||Talk to your financial aid office|
|Alaska||Alaska Education Grant: ASAP after Oct. 1, 2020
Alaska Performance Scholarship: June 30, 2021
|Arizona||Talk to your financial aid office|
|Arkansas||Academic Challenge: July 1, 2021
ArFuture Grant (fall term): July 1, 2021
ArFuture Grant (spring term): Jan. 10, 2022
|California||State financial aid programs: postmarked by March 2, 2021|
|Colorado||Talk to your financial aid office|
|Connecticut||Priority deadline: Feb. 15, 2021|
|Delaware||April 15, 2021|
|District of Columbia||Priority deadline: May 1, 2021|
|Florida||Processed by May 15, 2021|
|Georgia||Talk to your financial aid office|
|Hawaii||Talk to your financial aid office|
|Idaho||Opportunity Grant priority deadline: March 1, 2021|
|Illinois||ASAP after Oct. 1, 2020|
|Indiana||ASAP after Oct. 1, 2020|
|Iowa||July 1, 2021|
|Kansas||Priority deadline: April 1, 2021|
|Kentucky||ASAP after Oct. 1, 2020|
|Louisiana||July 1, 2022, though by July 1, 2021, is recommended|
|Maine||May 1, 2021|
|Maryland||March 1, 2021|
|Massachusetts||Priority deadline: May 1, 2021|
|Michigan||May 1, 2021|
|Minnesota||30 days after term starts|
|Mississippi||MTAG and MESG Grants: Sept. 15, 2021
HELP Scholarship: April 30, 2021
|Missouri||Priority deadline: Feb. 1, 2021
Deadline: April 1, 2021
|Montana||Priority deadline: Dec. 1, 2020|
|Nebraska||Talk to your financial aid office|
|Nevada||Silver State Opportunity Grant: ASAP after Oct. 1, 2020 Nevada Promise Scholarship: March 1, 2021|
|New Hampshire||Talk to your financial aid office|
|New Jersey||2021-22 Tuition Aid Grant recipients: April 15, 2021 All other applicants, fall and spring terms: Sept. 15, 2021 Spring term only: Feb. 15, 2022|
|New Mexico||Talk to your financial aid office|
|New York||June 30, 2022|
|North Carolina||ASAP after Oct. 1, 2020|
|North Dakota||ASAP after Oct. 1, 2020|
|Ohio||Oct. 1, 2021|
|Oklahoma||ASAP after Oct. 1, 2020|
|Oregon||Oregon Opportunity Grant: ASAP after Oct. 1, 2020
OSAC Private Scholarships: March 1, 2021
Oregon Promise Grant: Contact your state agency
|Pennsylvania||First-time applicants enrolled in community college or trade schools: Aug. 1, 2021
All other applicants: May 1, 2021
|Rhode Island||Talk to your financial aid office|
|South Carolina||SC Commission on Higher Education Need-based Grants: ASAP after Oct. 1, 2020
Tuition Grants: June 30, 2021
|South Dakota||Talk to your financial aid office|
|Tennessee||State Grant: March 15, 2021 if you previously received funding, or ASAP
Tennessee Promise: March 15, 2021
State Lottery for fall term: Sept. 1, 2021
State Lottery for spring and summer terms: Feb. 1, 2022
|Texas||Priority deadline: Jan. 15, 2021|
|Utah||Regents’ Scholarship: Feb. 1, 2021; priority deadline was Dec. 4, 2020
Talk with your financial aid office for other state programs
|Vermont||ASAP after Oct. 1, 2020|
|Virginia||Talk to your financial aid office|
|Washington||ASAP after Oct. 1, 2020
Students ineligible for federal student aid can complete the Washington Application for State Financial Aid
|West Virginia||PROMISE Scholarship: March 1, 2021
WV Higher Education Grant Program: April 15, 2021
WV Invests Grant priority: April 15, 2021
|Wisconsin||Talk to your financial aid office|
|Wyoming||Talk to your financial aid office|
Federal FAFSA Deadline
As mentioned, the FAFSA opens annually for the following school year on Oct. 1. For the 2021-22 school year, for example, students could start submitting a FAFSA on Oct. 1, 2020.
But how long do you have after that to submit the form? The federal deadline to submit the FAFSA is June 30 of the school year it’s for. For the 2021-22 school year, for example, the federal FAFSA deadline is June 30, 2022.
If you need to make corrections or updates to your FAFSA, the deadline is Sept. 10, 2022.
Fill Out Your FAFSA Early
Filling out the FAFSA early is one of the best things you can do to prepare for the upcoming school year. Not only will it get this task out of the way, it can improve your chances of getting more student aid. By getting it in early, you can more easily meet state and school priority deadlines to be considered for specific aid programs or scholarships.
Additionally, many student aid programs have limited funding; they award aid to eligible students until their funds run out. Applying earlier gives you a solid chance of snagging some of that funding for yourself.
Lastly, completing a FAFSA early can help you see what student aid you’re offered. If it’s not enough to cover your full costs, you’ll still have time to figure out where to get extra money for college. By the time your term starts, you’ll have the financial side of college fully settled—and hopefully, you’ll be able to focus more on your studies and less on how to pay for them.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can you fill out the FAFSA before applying to schools?
Yes! Go ahead and include up to 10 colleges you’re planning to apply to. If you need to add or change schools later, you can make corrections to the FAFSA.
Can you make changes to your FAFSA after submitting?
Yes, you can check your FAFSA status after submitting and make changes or corrections if needed. If you’re correcting an error, you can log into the FAFSA online portal and select “Make FAFSA corrections.” You can also ask your college’s financial aid office for further help and info.
What happens if you miss the FAFSA deadline?
Your best move is to make every effort to get your FAFSA in by the deadlines. If you miss a deadline, you can still try to get help.
- College FAFSA deadline: Reach out to your school’s financial aid office for help.
- State FAFSA deadline: Contact your state’s education agency.
The federal FAFSA deadline is hard and fast. If you miss it, you will be ineligible to submit this form or access federal student aid for that school year.