Priority FAFSA deadline approaches on Dec.1

Alexis Myszka

With November coming to an end, the priority date to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, Dec. 1, is quickly approaching.

Students can still file their FAFSA after the priority date but only students who file by the Dec.1 deadline will be considered for the very best financial aid package.

“Basically if you don’t get through the gate by December 1 we have to shut the door on some of our aid just because we don’t have unlimited dollars that we can award to students,” said Roberta Johnson, the director for financial aid.

Johnson said an important tip when filing the FAFSA is to make sure that it becomes an annual habit. She said if a student files their freshman year they should make sure to file every year as their eligibility may have changed. 

There are many different aspects that the federal financial aid formula looks at to determine the amount of financial aid a student will receive.

Some of these include the income coming into the family, which could change from year to year impacting the financial aid, and the number of people within the family attending college, as if that were to change it would impact the financial aid as well, Johnson said.

“It’s really critical that you [fill out the FAFSA]  even if you don’t think you will qualify for something,” Johnson said. “You don’t know until you fill out the FAFSA form.”

The FAFSA form takes some time to complete and requires information about household finances that could take time to obtain such as income tax records and W-2’s.

“There will be students that will wait until 11:59 p.m. Saturday and think that they can get their FAFSA form submitted on time and it just won’t happen,” Johnson said.

Financial aid isn’t just for putting towards tuition, but it can also help students with many aspects of their college career such as on a study abroad trip or while doing an internship.

“I can’t guarantee that filing by December 1 that you will qualify for all sorts of grants but I can guarantee that if you don’t file at all, you won’t get anything,” Johnson said.