A FAFSA Tip for College Students Struggling to Make Ends Meet

By Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach®

If you’re having a tough time paying for all your college expenses, filling out the FAFSA on time can help you tap into a host of financial aid sources. But there are three crucial deadlines — not just one — you need to be aware of when completing the all-important FAFSA.

  • The first FAFSA deadline is the cut-off date imposed your college or university.
  • The second FAFSA deadline comes from the state of California.
  • And the federal government sets the third FAFSA deadline.

Here’s a quick summary of each so you can get the maximum college financial aid. If you’ll be enrolled in college in the 2019-2020 academic term, the financial aid deadline for most four-year schools will occur in February 2019 or March 2019. That’s about six months before school begins. To know your specific campus deadline, visit the Financial Aid section of your school’s website.

In California, the deadline for most state financial aid is March 2, 2019. Your FAFSA must be postmarked by this date. Additionally, Cal Grant requires submission of a school-certified GPA by March 2, 2019. But do yourself a favor: don’t wait for March. Complete your FAFSA as quickly as you can, since aid is doled out in the order applications are received. In other words, the early bird really does catch the worm!

Finally, the federal financial aid deadline is June 30. So for those in school during the 2019-20 school year, the last possible date to request aid is June 30, 2020. Despite the government’s lenient deadline, that’s very late in the process — because for the 2019-20 school term, you can actually submit a FAFSA anytime from Oct. 1, 2018, on through 2019, and up until June 2020. Again, the sooner the better — to tap into any possible federal funding and help put some of your college financial worries to rest.


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Extra Credit provides general information to help improve our Member’s financial lives. Every situation is different, so please contact us for guidance on your specific needs. The advice provided in Extra Credit is not intended to serve as a substitute for speaking to a loan representative, financial advisor, or GreenPath Financial Wellness counselor who can help tailor a solution for you.

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