Continuing Education and Student Aid

What You Need to Know

Whether you’re the parent of a high-school student who is beginning their college application process or considering going back to school as an adult, the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first, and one of the most important steps in the process of continuing your education. With the FAFSA deadline for the 2021-2022 school year approaching on June 30th, here are 4 things you need to know now about the FAFSA:

When does the FAFSA open and when is the deadline?

The FAFSA opens on October 1st of each year, and the deadline is June 30th of the following year. For example. The 2021-2022 academic year FAFSA opened on October 1, 2021 and will close on June 30, 2022. The FAFSA for the 2022-2023 academic year will open on October 1, 2022. Also, keep in mind that your state and the school you are wishing to attend may have different deadlines for admission applications and your FAFSA so it’s important to pay attention to those dates.

The best time to submit your FAFSA is NOW. Submitting your FAFSA as soon as possible after October 1st allows you to be first in line for aid. The FAFSA isn’t just used by the federal government to determine aid eligibility, schools also use the data on your FAFSA to award aid in the form of grants and scholarships specific to the institution. These grants and scholarships may have different criteria than federal aid, and if you don’t submit a FAFSA, you could be missing out on free money for your education.

What information do I need to file the FAFSA?

For dependent students, you’ll need your personally identifying information such as your Social Security Number, driver’s license, and tax returns. You’ll also need your parent’s income information. Independent students will need to provide their own income information as well.  A comprehensive list can be found on the FAFSA site.

How does my income affect my eligibility for financial aid?

To receive federal aid, including federal student loans, you must demonstrate a financial need. The FAFSA has a complicated formula for determining this amount and is based on the cost of attending an institution and your “expected family contribution” which can vary depending on your or your parent’s information. There’s not a fixed income limit for federal student aid so fill out your FAFSA or risk leaving money for college on the table. Aid can come in various forms and could include the following –

  • Grants
  • Scholarships
  • Work-Study Jobs
  • Loans
  • Aid for Military Families
  • Aid for International Study
  • Aid from other programs outside the US Department of Education

Student aid comes in many varieties, and you do not know what type of aid you will qualify for if you do not submit a FAFSA. If you haven’t applied for financial aid for the 2021-2022 school year you still have time! Get your FAFSA submitted by June 30, 2022. For the 2022-2023 school year, get your FAFSA in early as soon as it opens on October 1, 2022. If you still have questions, you can reach out to your preferred college’s financial aid office or your trusted financial advisor.


SquareOne: A Financial Foundations Blog is a personal finance series from The Welch Group created to provide readers with the foundational knowledge to be purposeful with money by identifying key financial concepts that can help them control their financial future. Foundation topics include personal savings strategies, debt consolidation and reduction, life planning, retirement planning methods, and beginner essentials of investing and taxes.


Callie Waldrop, CFP ®, is a Senior Advisor at The Welch Group, LLC, specializing in providing Fee-Only investment management and financial advice to families throughout the United States. Callie is a graduate of the University of Alabama, is currently pursuing a Master of Accounting at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and is a Certified Financial PlannerTM.


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