When will the FAFSA form be available and when is it due?

Question:

When will next year’s FAFSA be available? What is the deadline to submit the FAFSA?

Answer:

The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) becomes available on January 1st of the award year. Submit the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1. Do not wait until you have filed your federal income tax returns or been admitted to the college or university you hope to attend.

Starting with the 2017-2018 award year, the FAFSA will be available on October 1 of the prior calendar year (as shown in the table below). 

The FAFSA is used not only to apply for federal student aid, but also for state grants and college-specific financial aid funds. Some states and colleges have very early deadlines or award money on a first-come, first-served basis. So, even though you have 18 months to file the FAFSA for federal student aid – the FAFSA must be received by June 30th of the award year or the last day of classes, whichever comes first – waiting to file the FAFSA could cause you to miss state and college financial aid deadlines.

Award Year FAFSA Available Last Day to File
2014-2015 January 1, 2014 June 30, 2015 or the last day of classes, whichever comes first
2015-2016 January 1, 2015 June 30, 2016 or the last day of classes, whichever comes first
2016-2017 January 1, 2016 June 30, 2017 or the last day of classes, whichever comes first
2017-2018  October 1, 2016 June 30, 2018 or the last day of classes, whichever comes first

It is OK to use estimated income and tax information from W-2 and 1099 statements and the last pay stub of the year for the initial application. You will be required to update this information after you have filed your federal income tax returns. Consider using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to update your FAFSA, since this will reduce the likelihood your FAFSA will be selected for verification.