FAFSA Deadlines You Should Know

For students seeking federal financial aid to pay for college, the deadline to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is June 30 each year. But to maximize their chances of receiving aid, prospective and current college students would ideally submit the FAFSA promptly after the application opens on Oct. 1 of the school year before the aid will be used.

This is often not the case. In fact, experts say many students wait to submit the FAFSA until their state deadline or even later. The federal application remains open for a full 21 months, not closing until June 30, nearly two years after the application opened for a given award year.

In the 2022-2023 FAFSA cycle, for example, the application opened Oct. 1, 2021, and the last day for students to submit the form is June 30, 2023. This means that high school seniors who plan to start college in 2022 were able to begin filling out the FAFSA in October. The deadline to make corrections or updates is Sept. 10, 2023.

[Read: An Ultimate Guide to Understanding College Financial Aid.]

To be eligible for federal financial aid like work-study, student loans and the Pell Grant, as well as a range of other college and state need-based aid, students must submit the FAFSA. In addition to keeping the federal deadline in mind, they must juggle multiple independent FAFSA deadlines unique to their college and state. The difference between filing early, on time and late can amount to thousands of dollars in funding to pay for college.

Each state has its own grant and scholarship programs, usually for residents only, that often have deadlines much earlier than the federal deadline. State and institution deadlines can come as early as October, or in the early spring months of the following year.

But if a student misses an institution or state deadline, there is still hope for financial aid.

“Unless you missed the June 30th deadline for FAFSA, opportunities for limited aid (Pell Grants and Federal Loans) should still be there as long as the student remains enrolled at least half-time and meets all other requirements,” Marty Somero, director of financial aid at the University of Northern Colorado, wrote in an email. “A student should certainly check with their school on any exceptions to missed deadlines especially if there were true extenuating circumstances such as a death of a parent.”

Indiana, for example, allows students to appeal if they miss the state deadline. Colby Shank, assistant vice president for student financial aid at Ivy Tech Community College in Indiana, says the state’s scholarship money is guaranteed for students who meet the qualifications and submit the FAFSA by the state deadline of April 15, a common deadline because it falls on Tax Day.

But this isn’t the case for all states, he adds, as Alaska, Kentucky, Nevada and several others offer funding until it runs out.

Limited funding and strictly enforced deadlines are just two of the reasons students should apply for financial aid well before the FAFSA deadline, experts say.

[Read: File FAFSA Early to Minimize Borrowing.]

“An important part of doing well at college is managing deadlines and staying ahead in your studies,” Rob Scheinerman, chief executive officer of AIG Retirement Services, wrote in an email. “Same holds true when applying for financial aid — filing the FAFSA application as soon as possible can be a good practice to establish, as many types of financial aid are on a first-come, first-served basis. And if you’re applying to multiple colleges, having the financial aid award letters can help you compare costs, an important factor in finding the right fit.”

To complete and sign the FAFSA form online, students or family members must create a FSA ID.

Though there may be flexibility in some deadlines, like institutional deadlines, Blaine Blontz, founder and lead consultant of Financial Aid Coach, says students will maximize their aid by being aware of all the different grant and scholarship deadlines and submitting the FAFSA early.

There are other advantages, he adds.

“Something that I’ve seen with the families I work with is just the peace of mind that comes with meeting the deadlines,” Blontz wrote in an email. “Do you need to complete financial aid forms the week of Oct. 1? No, that’s not necessary. Is it nice to have all of your requirements in before Thanksgiving, even if you are not considering early action or early decision? Absolutely.”

[Read: How Applying Early for College Affects Financial Aid.]

There has been a downward trend in FAFSA completion rates among high school seniors over the last two years, with experts attributing it to the coronavirus pandemic. The FAFSA was filed 3% less by the class of 2020 compared to the year prior, with the class of 2021 experiencing another decrease of more than 4%, according to MorraLee Keller, director of technical assistance at National College Attainment Network, a nonprofit membership organization.

“Particularly last academic year, many college opportunities, for lack of a better word, were nothing but virtual,” she says. “If students were not interested in a virtual college experience, that may have dissuaded them from attending.”

A drop in high school graduation rates, COVID-19 safety concerns, family circumstances and economic situations like income loss also are affecting decisions whether to attend college, Keller says.

The U.S. Department of Education publishes a list of state deadlines for the FAFSA annually. Shank says students should also check their college’s website to find deadlines for specific grants and scholarships, or contact their financial aid office if the submission deadline isn’t clearly stated.

Below are the 2022-2023 FAFSA deadlines by state, as compiled by the Department of Education.

State FAFSA Deadline
Alabama Check with your financial aid office.
Alaska

Alaska Performance Scholarship: June 30, 2022 (priority deadline).

Alaska Education Grant: As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2021.

Arizona Check with your financial aid office.
Arkansas

Academic Challenge: July 1, 2022, by midnight Central time.

ArFuture Grant (fall term): July 1, 2022, by midnight Central time.

ArFuture Grant (spring term): Jan. 10, 2023, by midnight Central time.

California

For many state financial aid programs: March 2, 2022 (date postmarked).

Cal Grant also requires submission of a school-certified GPA by March 2, 2022.

For additional community college Cal Grants: Sept. 2, 2022 (date postmarked).

If you’re a noncitizen without a Social Security card or had one issued through the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, you should fill out the California Dream Act Application found at caldreamact.org. You do not need to fill out a FAFSA form to be eligible for California student financial aid. Contact the California Student Aid Commission (csac.ca.gov) or your financial aid office for more information.

Colorado Check with your financial aid office.
Connecticut Feb. 15, 2022, by midnight Central time (priority deadline). Additional forms may be required.
Delaware April 15, 2022, by midnight Central time.
District of Columbia

Aug. 19, 2022 (priority deadline).

For DCTAG, complete the DC OneApp and submit supporting documents by Aug. 26, 2022 (priority deadline).

Florida May 15, 2022 (date processed).
Georgia As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2021. Additional forms may be required.
Hawaii Check with your financial aid office. Additional forms may be required.
Idaho Opportunity Scholarship: March 1, 2022, by midnight Central time (priority deadline). Additional forms may be required.
Illinois As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2021.
Indiana

Frank O’Bannon Grant: April 15, 2022, by midnight Central time.

21st Century Scholarship: April 15, 2022, by midnight Central time.

Adult Student Grant: As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2021. New applicants must submit additional forms at ScholarTrack.IN.gov.

Workforce Ready Grant: As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2021.

Iowa July 1, 2022, by midnight Central time. Earlier priority deadlines may exist for certain programs. Additional forms may be required.
Kansas April 1, 2022, by midnight Central time (priority deadline). Additional forms may be required.
Kentucky As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2021.
Louisiana July 1, 2023 (Feb. 1, 2022 recommended).
Maine May 1, 2022, by midnight Central time.
Maryland March 1, 2022, by midnight Central time.
Massachusetts May 1, 2022, by midnight Central time (priority deadline).
Michigan March 1, 2022, by midnight Central time.
Minnesota 30 days after term starts, by midnight Central time.
Mississippi

HELP Grant: April 30, 2022, by midnight Central time.

MTAG and MESG Grants: Oct. 15, 2022, by midnight Central time.

Missouri Feb. 1, 2022 (priority deadline). Applications are accepted through April 1, 2022, at midnight Central time.
Montana Dec. 1, 2021 (priority deadline). Additional forms may be required.
Nebraska Check with your financial aid office.
Nevada

Nevada Promise Scholarship: March 1, 2022. Additional forms may be required.

Silver State Opportunity Grant: As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2021.

All other aid: Check with your financial aid office. Additional forms may be required.

New Hampshire Check with your financial aid office. Additional forms may be required.
New Jersey

2021-2022 Tuition Aid Grant recipients: April 15, 2022, by midnight Central time.

All other applicants:
Fall and spring terms: Sept. 15, 2022, by midnight Central time.
Spring term only: Feb. 15, 2023, by midnight Central time.

New Mexico Check with your financial aid office.
New York June 30, 2023, by midnight Central time. Additional forms may be required.
North Carolina As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2021.
North Dakota As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2021.
Ohio Oct. 1, 2022, by midnight Central time.
Oklahoma As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2021.
Oregon

OSAC Private Scholarships: March 1, 2022. Additional forms may be required.

Oregon Promise Grant: Contact your state agency. Additional forms may be required.

Oregon Opportunity Grant: As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2021.

Pennsylvania

All first-time applicants enrolled in a community college; business, trade, or technical school; hospital school of nursing; designated Pennsylvania Open-Admission institution; or nontransferable two-year program: Aug. 1, 2022, by midnight Central time.

All other applicants: May 1, 2022, by midnight Central time. Additional forms may be required.

Puerto Rico Check with your financial aid office.
Rhode Island Check with your financial aid office. Additional forms may be required.
South Carolina

Tuition Grants: June 30, 2022, by midnight Central time.

SC Commission on Higher Education Need-based Grants: As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2021.

South Dakota Check with your financial aid office. Additional forms may be required.
Tennessee

State Grant: Prior-year recipients receive award if eligible and apply by February 1, 2022. All other awards made to neediest applicants.

Tennessee Promise: Feb. 1, 2022, by midnight Central time.

State Lottery:
Fall term: Sept. 1, 2022, by midnight Central time.
Spring and summer terms: Feb. 1, 2023, by midnight Central time.

Texas Jan. 15, 2022 (priority deadline). Two-year and private colleges may have different deadlines. Additional forms may be required.
Utah Check with your financial aid office. Additional forms may be required.
Vermont As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2021. Additional forms may be required.
Virginia Check with your financial aid office. Additional forms may be required.
Washington

As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2021.

Students ineligible for federal aid but who meet state financial aid program and residency requirements should complete the Washington Application for State Financial Aid at wsac.wa.gov/wasfa instead of the FAFSA.

West Virginia

PROMISE Scholarship: March 1, 2022. New applicants must submit additional forms at cfwv.com.

WV Higher Education Grant: April 15, 2022.

WV Invests Grant: April 15, 2022 (priority deadline).

Wisconsin Check with your financial aid office.
Wyoming Check with your financial aid office. Additional forms may be required.

Source: Federal Student Aid

Trying to fund your education? Get tips and more in the U.S. News Paying for College center.

More from U.S. News

Is Your Data Safe When Applying for Financial Aid?

What International Students Should Know About the FAFSA

How to Make College Cheaper

FAFSA Deadlines You Should Know originally appeared on usnews.com

Update 11/03/21: This article has been updated to reflect 2022-2023 deadlines.

Related Categories:

Latest News

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up