Now that I said that many people don’t need to rush to do the FAFSA on Day 1, there are circumstances where you do want to do it as soon as possible:

  • You live in one of the states that hands out state grant aid on a first-come, first-served basis. Those states are Alaska, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont and Washington.
  • You are applying to schools with rolling admission and first-come, first-served financial aid. You need to find that out from the school.

State FAFSA deadlines and financial aid details are here.

If you are going to file right away, though, please do at least scroll through the post below to see steps you can take to help yourself in the formula.

On the subject of state financial aid, a question comes up periodically when people are filling out the FAFSA. You may qualify to file the FAFSA under the Simplified Formula, which doesn’t ask about assets if your income is below a certain threshold and you meet certain other criteria. The FAFSA automatically omits the asset-related questions if you qualify for the Simplified Formula. However, sometimes the asset questions still pop up. Generally this is because the student’s state requests this information to consider the student for state grants.

Per the EFC Formula Guide here are the requirements for the Simplified Formula:

For the 2020–2021 Award Year, a dependent student qualifies for the simplified EFC formula if both (1), below, and (2), on the next page, are true:

“(1) Anyone included in the parents’ household size (as defined on the FAFSA) received benefits during 2018 or 2019 from any of the designated means-tested federal benefit programs: the Medicaid Program, the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Free and Reduced Price School Lunch Program, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC);
the student’s parents:
• filed a 2018 IRS Form 1040, but did not file a Schedule 1,
• filed a tax form from a Trust Territory, or
• were not required to file any income tax return;
the student’s parent is a dislocated worker.
(2) The combined 2018 income of the student’s parents is $49,999 or less.
• For tax filers, use the parents’ adjusted gross income from the tax return to determine if income is $49,999 or less.
• For non-tax filers, use the income shown on the 2018 W-2 forms of both parents (plus any other earnings from work not included on the W-2s) to determine if income is $49,999 or less.