By this point, college students have mostly taken their spring semester finals and moved on to summer internships, or maybe even graduated. But it’s not too late to get some more financial aid for the academic year that’s just wrapped up.
The window to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid for the 2018-2019 school year (the one that just finished) runs from October 1, 2017, to June 30, 2019. Colleges and federal and state governments review that key form to help them make decisions on eligibility for grants as well as student loans.
Getting in your application before the June 30 deadline could help you get more aid after the fact.
“Simply file,” says Charlie Javice, founder and CEO of Frank, a company that helps students file the FAFSA in minutes. “Whether you think you’re eligible or not, the whole point in filing is to see how much you're eligible for.”
Edvisor estimates it takes a few hours to gather the appropriate documents and 55 minutes to fill out the application as a first-time filer. In subsequent years, it should take 45 minutes.
If you’re still in college, remember that applying early next time around can help you maximize the aid you qualify for, says Andrew Pentis, a certified student loan counselor and LendingTree writer. You’re less likely to miss deadlines for money you don’t have to pay back, including scholarships, state grants, and university aid.
“The basic principle to follow is, the sooner you file your FAFSA, the sooner you’ll have your ducks in a row to pay for college,” he says.
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