Important financial aid deadlines
Summary: This video tells you all the due dates to keep in mind when applying for financial aid.
Video: About 4 minutes, 30 seconds
Who this is for: Seniors and Parents
Applying to college is all about meeting deadlines: for essays, for recommendations, for application submissions. It's obviously important to keep track of those deadlines, but there’s a whole other set of due dates that’s every bit as time-sensitive, but doesn’t get nearly as much publicity. That would be the timeline for locking down your financial aid, so you can actually pay for that college you burned the midnight oil to get into.
Let's face it. It isn't easy to get a clear picture of the due dates you need to know when applying for financial aid. But this video can help you bring it all into focus.
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Financial Aid Timeline 2023-2024
This year, the financial aid timing will be a bit different than previous years. Be sure to pay attention to the new FAFSA deadlines.
- Decide on which colleges to apply to and check their deadlines. You will want to apply to colleges in a variety of price ranges. Watch this video to learn how many schools you should apply to.
- Get an FSA ID here; your parent or guardian will need one, too. Note: The selected parent should be the one who contributes the most to the student’s support.
- Check out your state deadlines for Financial Aid on this page.
Important: Don’t wait until the last minute and risk the possibility that the system could be down.
- Start looking for scholarships! Really, it’s not too early! Some deadlines close in October! You'll find a helpful guide here.
- If the colleges you're applying to require the CSS Profile, begin filling out in October. This article shows you which colleges require it.
- You may even be able to get a fee waiver. Check here to get started.
- Continue and try to finish up your applications. December is going to be crazy!
- Finish up your scholarship applications before their deadlines.
- The new “Better FAFSA” is launched. Go to this page to fill out the application. Your parent will need to fill it out, too. There are also lots of options for students who are in ‘unusual circumstances’ and you can find out how to deal with those situations here.
- It is important that you fill this out as soon as possible. To be ready you will need an FSA ID (which may take a few days to set up) and so will your supporting parent. You will also need to have the documents listed here.
- Point of confusion: The FAFSA you fill out in December of 2023 is called the 2024-2025 FAFSA because that is the year when the student will start college. The income used will be from the 2022 tax return. (Note: In most cases, this will be a parent's tax return, but not always.)
- Double check everything – Was your FAFSA complete? Did your colleges receive your completed applications? Was your CSS profile complete? Have the places you’ve applied to for scholarships received your applications?
- Here come your acceptances and financial aid packages. To help you compare them, go to this page.
- Decision Time! Many colleges have a May 1 deadline. But if the colleges that have accepted you are not affordable, you still have options other than borrowing more than you should. For example, you could:
- Take a gap year and work to make some money
- Go to Community College for a year or two. This video shows why that could be a smart move.
- Negotiate with your college’s financial aid department
- Look for colleges that haven’t filled their classes
- Before agreeing to attend a particular school, do the math one more time including calculating loan payments.
- Make sure your selected school has received your AP and other college level class information so they can apply credits to your transcript.
- Log on to collegeboard.org to make sure your AP scores have been sent to your colleges.
The Price You Pay for College by Ron Lieber - See page 33 especially.
This video tells you all the due dates to keep in mind when applying for financial aid.