Here’s what you need to know about completing the FAFSA!

When is my application due?

There are three FAFSA deadlines to note: federal, college, and state. The federal FAFSA submission has one set date, while each college and state sets its own deadlines.

  • The application for the 2023-24 award year must be completed by 11:59 pm Central time (CT) on June 30, 2024. Any corrections or updates must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. CT on Sept. 14, 2024.
  • To be considered for federal student aid for the 2024–25 award year, your FAFSA form must be completed by 11:59 p.m. Central time (CT) on June 30, 2025. Any corrections or updates must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. CT on Sept. 14, 2025.

States and colleges have their own deadlines for submitting applications for state and institutional financial aid. Be sure to check with your college about its deadlines, you can find your state’s deadline here. Many states and colleges provide aid based on a first-come, first-served basis, so get your application in as soon as possible to increase your chances of receiving aid.

Who is eligible for FAFSA?

To qualify for FAFSA, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Show financial need.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen.
  • Have a valid Social Security number (unless you’re from the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia or the Republic of Palau).
  • Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program.
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress in college.
  • Have a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent.

You can find a complete list of more eligibility requirements for FAFSA here.

How do I apply for FAFSA?

You can submit your application online at

Or you can also mail in your application, but it’s not recommended. Online applications are simpler, generally result in fewer errors, and are processed faster.

What common mistakes are made on FAFSA forms?

 Some of the most common errors on FAFSA forms include:

  • Not filing before the deadline. Ideally, you would fill out the form as soon as possible on Oct. 1. Many states have limited funds, so they may have early deadlines.
  • Not getting an FSA ID before filling out the FAFSA form. When you register for an FSA ID, you may need to wait up to three days before you can use it to sign your FAFSA form electronically.
  • Leaving blank fields. If a question doesn’t apply to you enter “0” or “not applicable” instead.
  • Using commas or decimal points in numeric fields. Instead, round to the nearest dollar.
  • Listing an incorrect Social Security number or driver’s license number.
  • Using the wrong name. Be sure to use your full legal name as it appears on your Social Security Card.
  • Entering the wrong address. Use your permanent address to avoid confusion.
  • Listing only one college. Be sure to obtain the Federal School Code for the college you plan on attending and list it along with any other schools where you’ve applied for admission.
  • Forgetting to sign and date. If your parent is included on the application, they will need to sign with their parent FSA ID.

Read more about 10 common mistakes when submitting your online application.

You can find a complete list of more eligibility requirements for FAFSA here.

Can I apply for FAFSA as an independent?

If your parents aren’t paying any part of your college tuition, you may be able to apply for FAFSA as an independent. If you can apply as an independent, your parent’s income won’t be considered when your eligibility is determined.

You may be able to apply for FAFSA as an independent if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • You will be 24 years of age or older by Dec. 31 of the award year.
  • You are an orphan (both parents deceased), ward of the court, in foster care or you were a ward of the court at age 13 or older.
  • You are a veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States or serving on active duty.
  • You are working toward a master’s or doctorate degree.
  • You are legally married.
  • You have legal dependents (excluding a spouse).
  • You are an emancipated minor or in legal guardianship.
  • You are homeless.

If you don’t meet any of these requirements, consider contacting a financial aid administrator to discuss your options.

The sooner you apply, the better your chance at getting financial aid for college. Don’t delay, complete your FAFSA early!

Filling the Funding Gap

Federal and State financial aid may not be enough to pay for college. With our private education solution, students can achieve their dreams of higher education without the higher price tag often associated with private student loans.

Even if you’re unsure of the college you’ll be attending or the exact loan amount you may need, you can establish your private education line of credit with Northern today. Then, once your plans have been finalized, you can come back to request the exact funding you need.

Learn More about our student loans or contact us today!