To be considered for federal student aid for the 2016-2017 award year, you can complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) between January 1, 2016 and midnight Central Time, June 30, 2017. Any corrections or updates must be submitted by midnight Central Time, September 23, 2017.
However, many states and colleges have earlier deadlines for applying for state and institutional financial aid. You can find your state’s deadline at https://fafsa.ed.gov/deadlines.htm. Check with your college about its deadlines.
Because of the variation in state and college deadlines, it is highly recommended that you fill out the FAFSA as soon as you can after January 1to ensure that you do not miss out on available aid.
One thing to consider, however, is that the FAFSA asks for your tax return information for the current year. Often, this information might not be available until the end of January, at the earliest. Keeping this in mind, you can choose to either wait until you or your family files income taxes for the year or complete your FAFSA using estimates derived from the previous year’s tax returns and other documentation. (Note: If you do this, you will need to return later and correct any discrepancies between the estimated values and the current year’s tax returns.)