4 Reasons to Complete the FAFSA EarlyMay 1, 2019
Updated July 11, 2022
The process of completing the FAFSA application can be time-consuming but, ultimately, very worthwhile. Submitting the FAFSA early is a crucial step for managing the cost of higher education each year.
Filling out your FAFSA early can have huge benefits. Here are a few reasons why completing your FAFSA application early each year can benefit you in the long run.
1. Completing the FAFSA early means a better chance at more money.
If you submit your FAFSA early, you’ll have a better chance at more federal financial aid or school financial aid. The FAFSA application can be submitted for the next academic year starting October 1.
That sounds early, but the sooner you complete the FAFSA, the better your chances of getting financial aid. For example, some aid is awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Waiting too long means that some aid you may otherwise have been eligible for is already promised to other students. That means the earlier your application is submitted, the better chance you will have of receiving financial aid.
2. Get your Student Aid Report faster.
The FAFSA opens on October 1, and if you fill it out early, you may receive your Student Aid Report more quickly. This report gives you an idea of your eligibility for federal student aid.
The sooner you have that report, the sooner you can start planning how you’ll pay for the rest of your upcoming academic year. Having more time to apply for loans or look for other forms of aid can minimize some of the pressure of paying for college.
3. Skip the stress of procrastinating.
From registering for classes to finding a roommate, preparing for the upcoming academic year generally means a long to-do list. Submit your FAFSA early to cross one major item off your list and move on to other things.
As an additional perk, because filling out the FAFSA can be a bit time-consuming, completing the FAFSA early means giving yourself plenty of time to check and double-check your information. Take a deep breath, gather the documents you need, and just get it done!
4. These deadlines are real.
The FAFSA deadline is intended to give students plenty of time. That said, it’s essential to make a note of the deadline and turn your FAFSA in early, or at minimum, on time.
Not only can submitting your FAFSA early make you eligible for more of the first-come, first-served grants and scholarships for college. Planning ahead also gives you plenty of time to review your FAFSA and ensure everything looks right before you send it out the door.
Other FAFSA Tips
- Even if you don’t think you’ll qualify for need-based aid, it’s still a good idea to finish the application. The application may help you qualify for other institutional scholarships and financial aid opportunities.
- You generally have until the end of June of your academic year to file, but some state and institutional programs have earlier deadlines. Take the time to learn those deadlines and give yourself the best chance of receiving financial aid!
- Does your school use the CSS Profile? That’s an additional application required by some major colleges, and like FAFSA, it can help you qualify for certain types of financial aid. Check with your financial aid office to verify.
- You don’t have to wait until January 1 to fill out your FAFSA because you’ll use the previous tax year’s information. For example, your 2020 income data will now apply to the 2022-2023 FAFSA.
- If applicable, review our FAFSA guidelines for adopted & foster care students. According to the Department of Education, you may be classified as an independent student and be eligible for certain grant opportunities.
If you have any questions about FAFSA or any other aspect of financial aid, take the initiative to talk to an advisor or someone in your school’s financial aid office. They specialize in these topics and are there to help make sure you get as much aid as you deserve. All you have to do is listen, ask good questions, and get your paperwork in order to make this happen!