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Knowing when to apply for financial aid

A hypothetical FAFSA admission ticket

Applying for financial aid for college is one of those things that you want to do as soon as possible.

There are specific federal, state, and institutional deadlines but applying early may increase your chances for financial aid – especially for some institutional or scholarship funding that is distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.

If you plan to complete (or have already completed) the 2018-19 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for federal financial aid, you can apply and submit any corrections or updates through June 30, 2019. However, if you plan to begin your post-secondary education in the fall of 2018, you should apply as soon as possible and meet all deadlines.

Each state, college, postsecondary institution, private foundation, or other scholarship organization that uses information from the FAFSA will have their own deadlines. So even though you can submit FAFSA information up until June 30, 2019, make sure you are paying attention to the other deadlines to be eligible for financial aid.

For example, several states have their own financial aid deadlines, and you must meet those deadlines, if you want to be eligible for any state scholarship or grant programs. In the case of South Dakota, there is not one specific deadline. However, the state scholarship programs and all the colleges and postsecondary institutions have their own deadlines.

Check on the FAFSA deadline for every scholarship or grant program. You don’t miss out on any financial aid because you didn’t file your FAFSA on time.