What To Do If You Miss Your School’s Financial Aid Deadline

Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial step in getting funds to help pay for college. However, in order to get access to the more than $120 billion in federal and state student aid available each year, you have to meet the deadlines. Unfortunately, sometimes life gets in the way, and you may discover that a deadline has passed you by. Luckily, all is not lost – there may still be a chance for you to get the financial aid you need.

Federal Deadlines

For the 2018 – 2019 FAFSA Form, which was made available on Oct. 1, 2017, the deadline is midnight EST on June 30, 2019. However, you will have until Sept. 14, 2019 to update or make adjustments to the form if needed.

Missing the deadline does not necessarily mean you’re out of the running completely. Students should still finish and submit the FAFSA even if the deadline has passed because there may be money still available. The deadline establishes priority, but occasionally some funds have not been awarded, and the deadline may be extended. This is not a guarantee, so it is still advisable to make every effort to submit the FAFSA on time. Parents and guardians can also contact their child’s financial aid office to see if there is any flexibility or funds leftover.

State Deadlines

State and federal deadlines are separate; that means if you miss the state aid deadline, you may still qualify for federal aid. For North Carolina, the 2018-2019 state deadline is “as soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2017.” North Carolina awards funds for financial aid until all funds are depleted. It is advisable to submit your form as close to the deadline as possible to better your chances of receiving state financial aid.  Similar to the federal process, all hope is not lost if you’ve waited too long to apply for state aid. Parents and guardians should contact their child’s financial aid office to see if any funds remain; however, funds are not guaranteed.

College Deadlines

College FAFSA deadlines can vary greatly from school to school. Be sure to check with the college(s) you are interested in attending as the deadline may differ. Some colleges’ deadlines refer to the date your FAFSA is submitted, while others’ deadlines refer to the date your FAFSA is received. In addition, though North Carolina Community Colleges have priority deadlines for FAFSA completion, they will continue to process your FAFSA even past those. This is important because if the state grant money is depleted, you will still be checked for your eligibility for the scholarships that those specific colleges offer.

No matter the grant or scholarship, when it comes to financial aid, it is always in your best interest to submit the application as soon as possible. For FAFSA, students can submit their application as early as Oct. 1. For more information on how to plan, apply and pay for college, visit CFNC.org.