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Free FAFSA Guide

To determine which FAFSA to file, and when you should file in order to maximize your federal and state aid funds, keep reading.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is used to apply for federal grants and student loans. Many states also rely on the information provided in the FAFSA to determine a student’s eligibility for state aid, including grants and scholarships.

Which FAFSA Should You File?

When Should You File the FAFSA?

You should file the FAFSA as early as possible. The table above can help you to determine which FAFSA you need to file.

State FAFSA deadlines may be earlier than the federal deadlines. To increase your chances of receiving state aid, in addition to federal aid, it is important to know the deadline for your state of residence. In addition to varying deadlines, some states award aid on a first-come, first-served basis.

States may also have their own additional financial aid application forms to complete.

To be on the safe side, file as early as possible!

FAFSA Deadlines by State

Please note:

  • The state FAFSA deadlines may have already passed. If so, prepare for next year’s form by adding a reminder to your calendar. Most state deadlines remain similar year after year.
  • State forms do not replace filling out the FAFSA. You must fill out the FAFSA to receive federal student aid.
  • The state deadline to note is that of your state of legal residence.
  • Additional forms may be required. Contact your high school’s counselor, your college’s financial aid administrator or your state agency for more information.
  • Applicants should keep a copy of their submission of the FAFSA as well as any additional state forms.
  • Applicants should obtain a Certificate of Mailing and/or Delivery Confirmation for forms sent by postal mail.
  • Date received means received by the U.S. Department of Education, unless otherwise indicated.

State Financial Aid Deadlines

The table below is intended to educate students on state deadlines. It is always best to confirm state-related information with your high school counselor, financial aid advisor, or applicable state agency.


1Awards made until funds are depleted

2Additional forms may be required. When possible, Edvisors has linked to the applicable site.

Other FAFSA Deadlines