FAFSA Deadlines for the 2023-2024 School YearJanuary 27, 2020
Updated October 3, 2022
Graduating from high school is exciting, and when you’re preparing for college, it’s important to plan ahead. If you’re thinking about how to pay for college, keep in mind that applying for financial aid is a terrific way to offset some of the academic costs. Here’s what you need to know about the FAFSA deadlines for the 2023-2024 school year.
What is the FAFSA?
FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. You should complete the FAFSA to determine your eligibility for federal financial aid, including grants, work-study opportunities, or federal student loans. The application is easy to complete online or by paper, and it is designed to calculate your financial need to see what aid you would be eligible for.
There are no income limitations for who can fill out the FAFSA, so it’s smart to submit the form regardless of your financial situation. Even if you think you and your family may not qualify for financial aid, take the time to complete and turn in the FAFSA by the deadline. Because so many types of aid are available, you may be surprised at the results!
[Keep in mind that filling out the FAFSA is free, and you can access the 2023-2024 form here. Steer clear of any text, call, website, or other communication asking you to submit payment to fill out the FAFSA.]
Who Should File the FAFSA?
If you are a senior in high school and are planning to attend college, be sure to fill out the FAFSA. Also, returning college students who previously filled out the FAFSA must fill out the FAFSA every year while in school.
The information you provide on the form enables financial aid offices to determine your financial need
How Is Financial Need Determined?
Your financial need is determined by taking the cost of attendance (COA) and subtracting your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The formula is:
COA – EFC = Financial Need
The cost of attendance is different for each school and includes tuition, books, supplies, transportation, and room and board. Your EFC takes into account your family’s income, assets, and family size, among other factors. Students whose EFC is low may be eligible for more financial aid, but as we shared, you should plan to fill out the FAFSA regardless of your financial situation.
So how does all this work? Here’s an example:
If you plan to attend a school with a COA of $25,000 and your EFC is $10,000, the formula would be $25,000 – $10,000 = $15,000. This formula will help your school to create a financial aid package that meets your estimated financial needs.
Preparing to File the FAFSA
Ready to file? Collecting the documents you need before sitting down to complete the FAFSA will make the process much smoother. If you are a dependent student, you will need the following for both yourself and your parents, according to the Department of Education:
- Social Security Number or Alien Registration Number
- Financial documents like tax returns and W-2s
- Bank statements
- Information about any investments you may have
- Information about any untaxed income
You will also need to apply for an FSA ID. This is a username and password that allows you to access the Department of Education’s system to complete and sign the FAFSA electronically.
What Is the Deadline for the 2023-2024 FAFSA?
Because some financial aid is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, it’s best to complete the FAFSA early if possible. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the federal financial aid deadlines, as well as any state and institutional deadlines that may apply.
Keep in mind that, for the 2023-2024 academic year, you’ll need your 2021 income and tax information. This is called “prior-prior year” income data, and this format prevents families from having to estimate or revise FAFSA applications based on their 2021 taxes.
Each year, the newest FAFSA application becomes available on October 1. The deadline to submit the FAFSA is June 30 of the academic year to which it applies.
For example, the FAFSA application for the 2023-2024 school year became available on October 1, 2022, and students applying for 2023-2024 financial aid should submit the form no later than June 20, 2024. Keep in mind that while you have until June 30 to submit the application, however, it’s advantageous for you to apply as early as possible.
What if Financial Aid Doesn’t Cover the Full Cost of College?
College students often incur expenses not included in the cost of attendance used to determine financial need. For example, your school’s cost of attendance may not take into consideration things like off-campus housing, dorm furniture, your phone plan, etc.
Many students aim to cover these costs using private scholarships, which are an outstanding option to help avoid taking on unnecessary student loan debt. If you’re unable to generate enough scholarship funding to pay all of your academic costs, you can also consider private student loans.
Private student loans are generally offered by private lending companies, and they can be used to cover additional academic expenses. Just like with the FAFSA, you will need to provide some financial information and documents, such as your most recent W-2 and paystub. If you can’t qualify for private student loans on your own, you may need a co-signer, such as a parent.
There are many private lenders, so it’s best to do your research to receive the best rate and terms. At ELFI, student loan borrowers are paired with Student Loan Advisors to help them through the borrowing process, and they can apply without origination fees or prepayment penalties.* Click here to learn more about our private student loan options for undergraduates.