FAFSA Frequently Asked Questions:

Deadlines, Renewals and Student Loans

Navigating the financial aid application process can be difficult. This FAQ clears up a number of common misconceptions.

Applying to college can be challenging – and not only because of the tough application process. Getting your financial aid application in order can be nearly as difficult.

But it all starts with the FAFSA form. Below, we take a look at a number of common questions about the FAFSA, and tell you just what you need to know.

FAFSA FAQ

Q: When do I need to submit my FAFSA application?

A: The official application deadline is the June 30th before the start the academic year.

However, many states have earlier deadlines. Many colleges and universities have deadlines earlier still. Further, if there’s a mistake in your application and you can’t get a corrected version in by the deadline, you’re out of luck.

Most important of all – many if not most financial aid programs dole out money on a first-come first-serve business. If your application arrives after the money is gone, you’ll get nothing, regardless of deadlines made or not made.

Bottom line: You should turn in your FAFSA as close to January 1st as possible (the earliest allowed date). Every day you wait can only hurt your chances of getting the most money possible.

Q: Do I have to turn in a FAFSA every year?

A: Yes, you need to complete a FAFSA every year to receive financial aid. If you turned in a FAFSA last year, you will only need to complete a renewal FAFSA application. A renewal FAFSA application asks for changes to the previous application. Fill in those changes, turn in the renewal application, and you’re set.

Q: I’m not sure if I want to take out student loans. Should I declare my interest in loans on my FAFSA application?

A: Yes – always. Whether or not you show interest in loans won’t affect the amount you get in grants or scholarships. At the same time, you aren’t required to take any financial aid offered you. If you are given student loans but don’t want them, you can refuse them without problem. Keep your options open.

Q: Why do I need to report my parent’s financial information?

When deciding how much money you are eligible for, schools have to decide if you are dependent or independent. Additionally, there are sometimes special bonuses for first-generation college students, or for students in special circumstances. You’re asked all those questions about your parents to decide what category you fall into, and give you money accordingly.

To your successful college search,

Scott Weingold
Publisher, CollegeMadeSimple.com

P.S.  You can read more of our FAFSA Frequently Asked Questions here.

Other Related Articles:

When to Apply for the FAFSA

How to Take Control of the College Funding Process

5 Disastrous Mistakes Parents Make When Applying for College Funding

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Editor's Note: Scott Weingold has been ranked the #1 “College Financial Aid Expert Worth Knowing About” in the entire country by CollegeStats.org.  He has co-authored the book, “The Real Secret To Paying For College. The Insider’s Guide To Sending Your Child To College – Without Spending Your Life’s Savings.” Scott also publishes a popular free online newsletter, “College Funding Made Simple" which reveals insider’s tips, methods, and strategies for beating the high cost of college.

Scott is the co-founder and a principal of the widely renown College Planning Network, LLC – the nation’s largest and most reputable college admissions and financial aid planning firm. CPN is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of College Funding Advisors, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Scott, along with his college funding advisory team, helps thousands of families throughout the country with their college planning needs and offers a series of free educational webinars and workshops on “How To Pay For College Without Going Broke In The Process!” He's been featured or mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Yahoo News, TheStreet.com, Voice America with Ron Adams, Crains Cleveland Business, and on Cleveland Connection with James McIntyre.  Scott has published numerous articles and is a professional speaker who has addressed thousands of audiences online and offline throughout the United States.  His actionable insights and candid, open approach have earned him & his team numerous media interviews, citations, and speaking opportunities, and his free online video workshop is one of the Internet’s most widely viewed pieces in the college funding space.