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When Should I Submit the FAFSA?

If you're wondering when to submit your FAFSA, you’re in good company. The official "open date" for filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid for Fall 2021 is October 1, 2020, Filling out the FAFSA on October 1 or as soon as possible after that date may seem early, but it’s important.

Waiting to submit the FAFSA may cost you

It’s best to get it in early. Here's why: Most schools use FAFSA data to determine how much financial aid they will offer you. Some of that financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. For example, Federal work-study funds are awarded first-come, first-served. So, if you would like to receive a work-study award, get your FAFSA in early.

Get help filing the FAFSA

While fafsa.ed.gov has done a great job of providing tools to simplify filing of the application, there may still be questions you have that require the advice of a professional.

If this whole process is foreign to you and it’s causing concern, don’t hesitate to contact your financial aid officer or a CPA to help answer the questions. By and large the financial aid and admissions offices do a great job of assisting families through this process, the goal being they have a better shot of getting that student.

The bottom line is that when October rolls around, this is the ideal time to fill out the FAFSA for the best financial aid options.