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When should I file a FAFSA?



In general, the amount of available aid is limited, so the best time to apply for it is as soon as possible.

Currently, the soonest a FAFSA application can be filed with the Department of Education is on the October 1st preceding the academic year that you are requesting financial aid for. However by using our service, you can start even earlier. We can prepare your FAFSA for a future academic year now, and file it for you as soon as we can after October 1st.

An academic year is the 12 months from July 1st to June 30th. For example, the 2016-2017 academic year begins July 1, 2016 and ends June 30, 2017.

There is currently a 21 month window to file a FAFSA for each academic year, beginning nine months before the academic year on October 1, and ending at the same time the academic year ends on June 30. For example:

  • The 2017-2018 academic year will last from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. A FAFSA can be filed for the 2017-2018 academic year any time between October 1, 2016 and June 30, 2018.
  • The 2018-2019 academic year will last from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019. A FAFSA can be filed for the 2018-2019 academic year any time between October 1, 2017 and June 30, 2019.
  • etc.

It is also important to note that the FAFSA application is used to apply for federal, state, and college-sponsored aid, however each aid program may have its own deadlines. The dates above are the federal aid filing deadlines. State aid program deadlines are often sooner than the federal deadline. However, residents of any state can still file a FAFSA after their state deadline to apply for federal aid. To learn filing deadlines for college-sponsored aid, speak to the financial aid administrator at the college you wish to attend.

When you place an order for our service by 10pm Central Time on a state or federal holiday, we do our best to file it with the federal processor by midnight of that same day. But we cannot guarantee FAFSA filing times due to the many factors which may affect it, including the completeness and accuracy of information received, the volume of orders, the multiple technical platforms upon which order processing relies, and more. Therefore, we always recommend filing as soon as possible after the 1st of October, whether you use our services or file on your own directly with the government.

Finally, some deadlines apply to the filing date of the FAFSA, whereas other deadlines apply to the processing date of your FAFSA, which happens after filing. The federal deadlines listed in the bullet points above apply to the filing date of your FAFSA. When researching state aid and college-sponsored aid deadlines, make sure to pay attention to whether the date applies to the filing or processing of your FAFSA. When you place an order with our service to file your application, processing will typically be completed by the US Department of Education within 2 weeks after you provide them with your signature page.


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