Assistance for Late Filers

How late can I file and still meet my deadline?

Filing your FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1st is always recommended. While we can’t guarantee that your FAFSA will be submitted or fully processed by any date, we generally suggest that you submit your information to us at least one week prior to your state and/or school deadlines to allow sufficient time for us to help you resolve any unexpected issues prior to electronic submission, and to give you time to complete and submit the signature page.

If you have less than a week before your deadline(s), we may still be able to assist you! Our Deadline Advantage services can often help late filers—even those on the eve of a filing deadline—to complete and electronically file their FAFSA. Late filers must be aware that we offer no deadline guarantees, and that our ability to assist you largely depends on when you contact us and on the accuracy and completeness of the information you provide in order for us to prepare and electronically file your FAFSA.*

When time is critical, our phone service may be your best bet! Please be sure to call us no less than one hour before closing (see Hours of Operation) to ensure ample time to complete the phone interview, and for our Application Review and Processing Team to review your application materials prior to submission.

Special Considerations for Late Filers

If you’re filing late, here are a few additional considerations to keep in mind:

The Central Processing System (CPS), the federal contractor primarily responsible for processing FAFSA applications, is located in the Central Time Zone. This means that FAFSA application receipts are recorded in CENTRAL time; therefore, you MUST pay careful attention to your submission times when up against a deadline.

For example, if you live in California and have a midnight, March 2nd filing deadline, and your FAFSA is submitted at 10:30 p.m. YOUR time (Pacific Standard Time), you’ve already missed your deadline! Because while it may be 10:30 p.m. on March 2nd in California, it’s already 12:30 a.m. (Central Time) on March 3rd in Kansas, where the Central Processing System is located.

Bullet Pay careful attention to deadline filing specifics. For example, some school financial aid offices require your FAFSA to be submitted by a certain date in order for you to be considered on time, while others require the FAFSA to be fully processed (released by the federal processor and your signature page signed) in order for you to be on time.
Bullet Fortunately, a majority of schools go by the FAFSA submission date for deadline purposes, which means that, in some cases, it may be possible for you to electronically submit your application by a given date and be considered on time, even though your application may not be fully processed until several days later!
Bullet Many schools require additional applications and/or forms for financial aid consideration. We strongly encourage all students to check with their school financial aid offices for information on their exact financial aid policies, procedures, requirements and deadlines.
Bullet Finally, even if you’ve completely missed filing deadlines, you are still encouraged to file your FAFSA. Regardless of when you apply, you should be eligible for at least the Federal Stafford and Parent (PLUS) loans, which offer very favorable terms. And if you demonstrate need, Federal Pell Grants and other forms of aid may still be available.

*We consistently review our files to keep them up-to-date and reliable. However, because state and school filing deadlines are subject to change and are beyond our control, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the deadline information in our database, nor do we guarantee FAFSA submissions by any particular date. Furthermore, while most school financial aid offices use the FAFSA “Transaction Receipt Date” (the date the FAFSA is submitted to the federal processor) in determining whether an applicant is considered “on time,” a small percentage use the date on which the FAFSA application is “fully processed.” (Note: A “fully processed” FAFSA typically means that the application has been processed by the federal processor and made available to the financial aid office, and that the applicant has met the signature requirement—either by signing and returning the signature page or by signing the FAFSA electronically using a PIN.) Financial aid applicants should also be aware that, in addition to the FAFSA, some schools require additional applications or forms in order to be considered for financial aid. We strongly encourage all students to check with their school’s financial aid office to determine their exact financial aid policies, procedures, requirements and deadlines, and to file early. 

Our services simplify and expedite the application process, helping clients to prepare and electronically submit FAFSA applications quickly and efficiently. We offer personalized application review by experienced Student Aid Advisors to help ensure error-free FAFSAs. However, because we do not independently verify the accuracy of information provided to us by clients, and because rules and regulations do change, we can not guarantee that all applications will be error-free or will not be selected for verification.

Finally, we recommend that clients submit their application materials to us at least one week prior to a deadline. While we pledge our “best effort” in helping all clients meet application deadlines—particularly those who have delayed filing—we do not guarantee FAFSA submissions by any particular date.  

** Many types of financial aid are limited and awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, it is highly recommended that students file their FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1st (the date the federal processor begins accepting applications), or at least by their individual state and school filing deadlines, in order to receive consideration for the maximum amount of financial aid for which they may be eligible. Actual financial aid eligibility and award packages are determined by federal and state agencies and the financial aid offices of individual schools, and are beyond our control.