What are the keys to financing college tuition? This 2020-2021 Financial Aid Calendar keeps you organized. Watch those FAFSA deadlines!

This financial aid post was originally published on September 21, 2019 and updated on October 8, 2019.

We know you’ve got questions about the FAFSA. When are the deadlines? How do I submit an application? Where do I even start?? Don’t worry; we’ve got the answers to guide you through your journey in financing college tuition!

Quick facts about FAFSA

  • The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
  • FAFSA allows students like you to apply for federal student aid such as federal grants, work-study programs, and loans. Submitting the FAFSA form is free and easy, and can be done all online. 
  • To kick off your application, you’ll need to create an FSA ID (Federal Student Aid ID), which is the username and password that will serve as your legal signature in submitting your FAFSA form.
  • FAFSA application submissions are open from October 1 every year to June 30 by 11:59 p.m. Central time (CT) each year. But you can make corrections or updates up until September 12, 2020, 11:59 p.m. CT.
  • The federal FAFSA deadline of June 30, however, may not be the important one. Depending on the college and state, you might have an earlier deadline than that.
  • You can add college names to your FAFSA form. These colleges then will receive your FAFSA information to consider when offering you their own financial aid. You can also submit the FAFSA form without colleges listed and add the college names later
  • Financial aid priority is given to applicants who submit their FAFSA form well before the deadline, so send in your FAFSA form as soon as you can!

What’s the deal with all these FAFSA deadlines?

You may notice three different deadlines listed on the FAFSA website: college, state, and federal deadlines. At Going Merry, we’re all about breaking down information to make it easier to understand, so check out the deadline explanations below! 

College Deadline

The college deadline is one of the most important deadlines because the dates are well before the college freshman academic year begins. Here are two more confusing things about the college deadline: 

  1. Each college might have a different deadline, so start a spreadsheet to keep track of them! 
  2. Sometimes the deadline is the date when the college receives your FAFSA form. Other times, it is the date the college processes your FAFSA form. It may take 3-5 days to process the electronic form, while the paper form takes 7-10 days from the date it was mailed to process. You can check the financial aid section on each college’s website (or call their financial aid office) to find out which it is. 

The earlier you submit your FAFSA application, the higher priority you’ll receive. You don’t have to be accepted to a college or list college names to apply for the FAFSA – you can add up to 10 college names to your online FAFSA form later on.

State Deadline

Similar to the college deadline, states provide a FAFSA submission deadline date to distribute funds with higher priority given to students who apply early. States will award funds until they’re depleted.

Note that these state student aid awards can be separate (and additional!) to the federal aid that students receive.

Federal Deadline

The federal deadline gives students a bird’s eye view of the earliest date students can submit their FAFSA forms and the latest date that students can submit their FAFSA forms. The college and state deadlines fall everywhere in between those points.

The most important factor to keep in mind is to apply for the FAFSA as soon as you can, on or around October 1, to be considered for state funds, college funds, and for higher priority in receiving funds on a first-come, first-served basis.

State FAFSA Deadlines and other State-specific Financial Aid

Each state may have a different deadline for specific undergraduate scholarships and grants, and individual colleges may have both need-based and merit-based scholarships. Find your state of residence in the list below, to get information on your FAFSA state deadlines: 

Alabama — State deadline: Confirm with your financial aid office administrator.

College deadline: Check with the college on the school’s website or contact the college financial aid office. Check for more Alabama scholarships here.

AlaskaAlaska Education Grant – As soon as possible after October 1, 2019.

Alaska Performance Scholarship – due June 30, 2020. Submit your application as soon as possible for priority consideration as scholarship awards are made until funds are depleted.

Alberta — Check with your financial aid office administrator.

American Samoa — Check with your financial aid office administrator.

Arizona — Confirm with your financial aid office administrator. Check for more Arizona scholarships here.

ArkansasAcademic Challenge Scholarship – June 1, 2020 by midnight, CT.

Higher Education Opportunity Grant – June 1, 2020 by midnight, CT. Workforce Grant – check with your financial aid office administrator.

Check for more Arkansas scholarships here.

British Columbia — Check with your financial aid office administrator.

California — For many state financial aid programs, application must be postmarked March 2, 2020.

Additional community college Cal grants must be postmarked by September 2, 2020. Notes: You’re also encouraged to obtain proof of mailing and additional forms may apply.

If you are a non-citizen holding a Social Security card issued through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or for some other work authorization, you should fill out the California Dream Act Application, NOT a FAFSA form.

Colorado — Check with your financial aid office administrator.

Connecticut — February 15, 2020 for priority consideration. Additional forms may be required in the application process. For more information, contact your financial aid office administrator or state agency.

Delaware — April 15, 2020 by midnight, CT

District of Columbia — Complete your FAFSA by May 1, 2020 for priority consideration. For DC Tuition Assistance Grant, complete the DC OneApp and submit supporting documents by May 31, 2020 for priority consideration.

Federal States of Micronesia — Check with your financial aid office administrator.

Florida — May 15, 2020. Check for more Florida scholarships here.

Foreign Country — Check with your financial aid office administrator.

Georgia — Check with your financial aid office administrator.
Check for more Georgia scholarships here.

Hawaii — Check with your financial aid office administrator. Additional forms may be required.

Idaho — Opportunity Grant – March 1, 2020 by midnight, CT. Note: For priority consideration, submit application by the specified date. Also, an additional form may be required. Contact your financial aid office administrator or state agency for additional information.

Illinois — As soon as possible after October 1, 2019. Awards will be made until funds are depleted.

Indiana — As soon as possible after October 1, 2019. Adult Student Grant: As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2019. Awards are made until funds are depleted. New applicants must submit additional forms at ScholarTrack.IN.gov.
Workforce Ready Grant: As soon as possible after Oct. 1, 2019.
Frank O’Bannon Grant: April 15, 2020, by midnight CT.
21st Century Scholarship: April 15, 2020, by midnight CT.
Check for more Indiana scholarships here.

Iowa — July 1, 2020 by midnight, CT. Note: Earlier priority deadlines may apply for certain programs and an additional form may be required.
Check for more Iowa scholarships here.

Kansas — April 1, 2020 by midnight, CT. Note: For priority consideration, submit application by the specified date. Also, an additional form may be required. Contact your financial aid office administrator or state agency for additional information. Check for more Kansas scholarships here.

Kentucky — As soon as possible after October 1, 2019. Awards will be made until funds are depleted.

Louisiana — July 1, 2021 (July 1, 2020 recommended).

Maine — May 1, 2020 by midnight, CT.

Manitoba — Check with your financial aid office administrator.

Maryland — March 1, 2020 by midnight, CT.

Massachusetts — May 1, 2020 by midnight, CT. Note: For priority consideration, submit application by the specified date.

Mexico — Check with your financial aid office administrator.

Michigan — March 1, 2020 by midnight, CT.
Check for more Michigan scholarships here.

Minnesota — 30 days after term starts (by midnight CT).

Mississippi — Submit your application by February 3, 2020 for priority consideration.

MTAG and MESG Grants – October 15 by midnight, CT during the fall of the aid year for which the student is seeking assistance.

HELP Scholarship – Apply by March 31, 2020 by midnight, CT and submit documents by April 30, 2020.

Missouri — February 3, 2020 by midnight, CT. Applications will be accepted through April 1, 2020 at midnight, CT. Check for state-specific scholarships here.

Montana — Submit your application by December 1, 2019 for priority consideration. Check with your financial aid office administrator.

Nebraska — Check with your financial aid office administrator.

NevadaSilver State Opportunity Grant — As soon as possible after October 1, 2019.

Nevada Promise Scholarship: April 1, 2020. Check with your financial aid office administrator. Note: An additional form may be required.

New Brunswick — Contact your financial aid office as there is no state or province deadline for New Brunswick.

New Hampshire — Check with your financial aid office administrator. Note: An additional form may be required.

New Jersey2020 – 2021 Tuition Aid Grant recipients – April 15, 2020 by midnight, CT.

All other applicants – September 15, 2020 by midnight, CT for fall and spring terms. February 15, 2021 by midnight, CT for spring term only.

New Mexico — Check with your financial aid office administrator.

New York — June 30, 2021 by midnight, CT. Awards will be made until funds are depleted. Check for more New York scholarships here.

Newfoundland — Check with your financial aid office administrator.

Newfoundland/Labrador — Check with your financial aid office administrator.

North Carolina — As soon as possible after October 1, 2019. Awards will be made until funds are depleted. Check for more North Carolina scholarships here.

North Dakota — As soon as possible after October 1, 2019. Awards will be made until funds are depleted.

N. Mariana Islands — Submit your application by April 30, 2020 at midnight, CT for priority consideration.

Northwest Territories — Check with your financial aid office administrator.

Nova Scotia — Check with your financial aid office administrator.

Ohio — October 1, 2020 by midnight, CT. Check for more Ohio scholarships here.

Oklahoma — As soon as possible after October 1, 2019 by midnight, CT. Awards are made until funds are depleted.

Ontario — Check with your financial aid office administrator.

OregonOregon Opportunity Grant – As soon as possible after October 1, 2019. Awards will be made until funds are depleted.
OSAC Private Scholarships – March 1, 2020.
Oregon Promise Grant: Check with your state agency as additional forms may be required. Check for more Oregon scholarships here.

Palau — Check with your financial aid office administrator.

Pennsylvania — All first-time applicants at a community college, business, trade, or technical school, a hospital school of nursing, designated Pennsylvania Open-Admission institution, or a non-transferable two-year program: August 1, 2020 by midnight, CT.

All other applicants – May 1, 2020 by midnight, CT. Additional forms may be required. Check for more Pennsylvania scholarships here.

Prince Edward Island — Check with your financial aid office administrator.

Puerto Rico — Check with your financial aid office administrator.

Quebec (PQ) — Check with your financial aid office administrator.

Quebec (QC) — Check with your financial aid office administrator.

Rhode Island — Check with your financial aid office administrator. Additional forms may be required.

Saskatchewan — Contact your financial aid office as there’s no state or province deadline for Saskatchewan.

South CarolinaSC Commission on Higher Education Need-based Grants – As soon as possible after October 1, 2019. Awards will be made until funds are depleted. Tuition Grants – June 30, 2020 by midnight, CT.

South Dakota — Check with your financial aid office administrator. Additional forms may be required.

TennesseeState Grant – February 1, 2020. For State Lottery – fall term, September 1, 2019 by midnight, CT. Spring and summer terms: February 1, 2020 by midnight, CT. Prior-year State Grant recipients will receive an award, if eligible. All other awards are provided to applicants who have met the February 1, 2020 deadline until funds are depleted.

Tennessee Promise: February 1, 2020
State Lottery: Fall term: September 1, 2020
State Lottery: Spring and summer terms: February 1, 2021

Texas — As soon as possible after October 1, 2019. Texas public colleges: For priority consideration, submit your application by January 15, 2020. Additional forms may be required. Texas private colleges: Check with your financial aid administrator. Check for more Texas scholarships here.

U.S. Virgin Islands — Check with your financial aid office administrator.

Utah — Check with your financial aid office administrator.
Check for more Utah scholarships here.

Vermont — As soon as possible after October 1, 2019. Awards will be made until funds are depleted. Additional forms may be required.

Virginia— Check with your financial aid office administrator. Additional forms may be required.

Washington— As soon as possible after October 1, 2019. Awards will be made until funds are depleted. Check for more Washington scholarships here.

West VirginiaPROMISE Scholarship deadline – March 1, 2020. New applicants must submit an additional application, available here. Contact your financial aid office administrator or state agency for additional information. WV Higher Education Grant Program deadline – April 15, 2020.

Wisconsin — Check with your financial aid office administrator.
Check for more Wisconsin scholarships here.

Wyoming — Check with your financial aid office administrator. Additional forms may be required.

Yukon — Contact your financial aid office as there’s no state or province deadline for Yukon.

Still have a financial gap?

Sometimes, institutional and federal aid simply aren’t enough. You still have a financial gap you need to cover, in order to pay your full college tuition, plus room and board. Rather than take out more debt, consider applying to scholarships. There are many scholarships for all GPAs, including some no essay scholarships. These scholarships for college students and high school students can normally be applied to any 2- or 4-year accredited college or university.

Going Merry makes finding and applying for those scholarships even easier. After filling out a profile, you’ll get matched with only scholarships you’re eligible for. From these, you can make a shortlist by favoriting any scholarships you want to apply for, and then apply for them right on our site. We pre-fill any information you’ve already told us, so that you never have to enter the same thing twice. Get started today. Sign up here.

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Kelly Lamano

Though always a creative, Kelly's momentum into the world of writing and publishing arrived when she attended college. She quickly learned the financial value - and cost - of honing her craft, and sought scholarships that would be crucial to not only funding, but fueling her education. She wants to help new students thrive with Going Merry's easy scholarship finder. Kelly holds a bachelor's degree in Broadcast, Print and Online Media, and a minor in Spanish from Florida Southern College.

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