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Missing the FAFSA Deadline: Tips & Student Loan Help You Can Use

10 October 2012 No Comment

There are multiple deadlines to be aware of when you’re applying for college financial aid, as they can affect your ability to receive federal, though not private, student loans. Start the financial aid application process by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online. The FAFSA is a nationally used tool that helps determine what your family will be expected to contribute toward your education and how much you may be eligible to receive in loans.

It is imperative that you meet FAFSA and school deadlines for the best outcome. If your FAFSA is late, it could reduce or eliminate the amount of money you are eligible to receive from your school or federal loans. If this happens, you’ll have to investigate an alternative to Federal student loans.

The Three Types of Deadlines

1.     Federal student loan deadline: There are two FAFSA deadlines: the priority deadline and the final deadline. If you meet the priority deadline, you have the greatest chance to receive subsidized loans and grants. (Subsidized means the government will pay the interest that accrues while you are enrolled in school.) If you miss the priority deadline, you can still meet the final deadline and qualify for student loans. But, if you miss that, you will need to contact your college’s financial aid office and see what they can do for you, having not received your FAFSA when they received everyone else’s. You may also apply for private student loans at this point.

2.     State deadline: Your state needs to receive your FAFSA and any other required forms by another date. You can use the FAFSA deadlines  tool to find out exactly when your state needs to hear from you.

3.     Your school’s deadline: Finally, your school likely provides its own financial aid. To do this, the school will also need to see your FAFSA. Contact your college’s financial aid office to learn when you need to submit your FAFSA in order to qualify for school-funded grants, scholarships and other tuition assistance.

What to Do if You Miss these Deadlines

If you miss the FAFSA deadline, you can still apply for private college loans , but your Federal loan options are limited. You should still complete it once you realize your mistake, and then contact the college’s financial aid office. They may allow you to explain the reasons behind the delay and you may still be eligible for scholarships, work study or other aid. But, there is a finite amount of money available, so it’s possible if you are late filing your FAFSA, there really won’t be anything left. In this case, you’ll have to look into paying the upcoming year’s tuition bills with private student loans and alternatives to student loans.

Alternatives to Federal Student Loans

Even if you don’t receive federal loans, you may still be eligible to receive some private student loans, grants or independent scholarships. Places to look for these opportunities include your state, county or city government; private foundations; national and local service organizations; trade organizations in the field that you intend to study; and banks and credit unions. Your school’s guidance counselor may be able to help you get started. Also, you may need to apply for part-time work while you’re in school to help defray some of the costs.

Strive to Meet the Deadlines

As you can see, it is certainly in your best interest to file your FAFSA by all necessary deadlines in order to maximize your student aid eligibility. As soon as you start looking at schools, visit the FAFSA website to view the updated list of deadlines for that school year. Print it off and stick it to your fridge, set a reminder in your phone, and write them on the calendar so you don’t miss them!


Content was created and provided by RBS Citizens Financial Group.

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