Free Application for Federal Student Aid

Every year, the federal government provides over $150 billion in financial aid. To apply for this aid, you must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. State government and some institutional aid are also awarded based on your FAFSA information, so apply even if you think you won’t qualify for aid.

New changes to the FAFSA timeline allow you to submit the FAFSA earlier using prior prior tax year information. Being able to file the FAFSA earlier will provide a more accurate idea of your anticipated financial aid and college costs, as well as additional time to evaluate institutional aid packages and explore options.

Changes to the FAFSA Process for 2017-18

Submit a FAFSA earlier: Students will be able to submit a 2017-18 FAFSA as early as Oct. 1, 2016, rather than beginning on Jan. 1, 2017. The earlier submission date will be a permanent change, enabling students to complete and submit their FAFSAs as early as October 1 every year. (There is NO CHANGE to the 2016-17 schedule. The 2016-17 FAFSA became available Jan. 1, 2016.)

Use earlier income and tax information: Beginning with the 2017-18 FAFSA, students will report income and tax information from an earlier tax year. For example, on the 2017-18 FAFSA, students (and parents, as appropriate) will report their 2015 income and tax information, rather than their 2016 income and tax information.

Here's a summary of key dates for submitting the FAFSA depending on when you plan to go to school:

If you plan to attend college from You will submit this FAFSA You can submit
the FAFSA from
Using income and tax information from
July 1, 2015—
June 30, 2016
2015-16 January 1, 2015—
June 30, 2016
July 1, 2016—
June 30, 2017
2016-17 January 1, 2016—
June 30, 2017
July 1, 2017—
June 30, 2018
2017-18 October 1, 2016—
June 30, 2018
July 1, 2018—
June 30, 2019
2018-19 October 1, 2017—
June 30, 2019

For additional information, go to StudentAid.gov/FAFSA.

Ready to apply for Financial aid? Visit fafsa.ed.gov.

File the FAFSA