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When Is the FAFSA Deadline?

You have until June 30, 2019, to submit the 2018-19 FAFSA. Those who file earliest have the best chance of getting more financial aid.
Aug. 7, 2018
College Savings, Loans, Student Loans
When Is My FAFSA Deadline?
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You have to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, for each school year to qualify for grants, scholarships, federal work-study and federal student loans. But deadlines vary for federal, state and institutional aid.

Each year, the FAFSA opens on Oct. 1. File your FAFSA as close to Oct. 1 as possible to improve your chances of qualifying for the most grant, scholarship and work-study aid. For 2018-19 aid, the start date was Oct. 1, 2017. For the 2019-20 school year, the start date is Oct. 1, 2018.

» MORE: How much should you borrow for college?

Certain aid is awarded to students who apply the earliest, such as federal work-study dollars and many state and institutional grants and scholarships.

The federal government gives students a deadline of June 30 after the school year in which they need aid — for instance, June 30, 2019, for the 2018-19 school year — to file the FAFSA. But you have to submit the form much earlier to meet financial aid deadlines for your state and college and to get your aid dollars in time for the start of the school year.

You can read everything you need to know about the application in NerdWallet’s FAFSA guide.

Certain aid is awarded to students who apply the earliest, such as federal work-study dollars and many state and institutional grants and scholarships.

FAFSA open date and deadline

Academic yearFAFSA open dateFederal FAFSA deadline
2018-19
Oct. 1, 2017June 30, 2019
2019-20Oct. 1, 2018June 30, 2020

You only have to file the FAFSA once to be eligible for all three types of aid. Here’s what you need to know about each.

» MORE: Understanding your FAFSA financial aid options

State and institutional FAFSA deadlines

States and individual colleges set their own FAFSA deadlines that are typically much earlier than the federal one. You have to file your application by these deadlines to qualify for state and institutional grants and scholarships. If you’re attending an out-of-state school, you may not qualify for state aid — check with the state to see if you do. Find your state financial aid deadline on the Federal Student Aid website.

States and individual colleges set their own FAFSA deadlines that are typically much earlier than the federal one.

Federal FAFSA deadline

The federal deadline is your last chance to submit the FAFSA each year. If you need financial aid for the 2018-19 school year, you can submit the form until June 30, 2019. Work-study dollars and most state and institutional aid will run out the fastest for 2018-19, but there will still be time to qualify for federal grants and student loans. Even if you wait until June 30, you can receive these grants and loans retroactively to cover what you’ve already paid for the spring and fall semester. Or, depending on your school, you may be able to apply the funds to 2019 summer school.

Next steps

Track colleges’ financial aid deadlines. Deadlines at individual schools often fall the earliest, so those deadlines are the most important to track. Look up the dates for all of the schools you’re applying to and write them down in one place — try using your phone’s calendar, a spreadsheet or a notebook dedicated to your college search.

Submit any other financial aid applications. Many schools require additional or alternative financial aid applications, such as the CSS Profile, to qualify for state or institutional aid. You’ll need to submit all the required paperwork before the deadline to be considered for aid.

Above all, remember Oct. 1. It’s not a deadline, but if you submit your FAFSA soon after that day, you’ll cover all your bases.

Wait for your financial aid award letter, which details how much free aid you qualify for and how much in federal loans you can borrow. (See “How to Get a Student Loan.”) You may appeal your award if you didn’t get enough aid.

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