It's a good idea to apply for financial aid as early as possible, but at least several weeks before the school semester begins. That way, you’ll know if you qualify for aid or need to provide additional information before classes start.
For some kinds of financial aid—like the California College Promise Grant, Pell Grants and some scholarships—you can apply year-round. Other kinds of financial aid have strict deadlines. Two of the most important deadlines to remember for Cal Grant eligibility are:
- March 2. - The deadline for turning in your FAFSA and verified Cal Grant GPA to qualify for a Cal Grant.
- September 2. - A secondary deadline for your FAFSA and Cal Grant GPA Verification. This is specifically for Cal Grants awarded to California community college students.
- In addition to specific deadlines, certain types of aid, like the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) and Work Study, are awarded on a first come, first served basis – so, it’s important to apply right away and check with the financial aid office at your college for more details.
Remember, while there are many individuals and organizations offering assistance for a fee, completing and submitting the FAFSA is FREE, and so is the help from community college financial aid offices.
Beginning in fall 2016, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is now available every year on October 1. This means you have the chance to complete the forms sooner than ever before, which will give you a better idea of what your financial aid package will look like so you can figure out how you are going to pay for school before it begins. Filing early will also give you a better chance to receive more aid, if you qualify. To plan ahead for the 2017-2018 academic year, complete the FAFSA as soon as October 1, 2016 to get the most aid possible.
||Tax Filing Year to be Used
||January 1, 2016
||October 1, 2016
||October 1, 2017