The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is one of the most important applications your child will ever submit, but as a parent, you must also keep an eye on FAFSA deadlines. This form allows students to apply for financial through the federal and state governments and get the necessary help that they need paying for college. As long as your child is under the age of 24 and you can still claim him or her on your taxes, your child will use your income and tax records when filing. You’ll need to pay attention to several key deadlines when filling out this document.

Early Admissions

One thing you need to pay attention to is the early admissions deadline. Many colleges have an early admissions policy or a priority admissions policy that allows students to apply in the late fall or early winter. Students will know before Christmas if they got into that school. According to Federal Student Aid, the government now allows students to submit the FAFSA earlier too. While students previously could not support the FAFSA until January 1, they can now submit this form on October 1. Students can find out their college decisions and financial aid packages at the same time.

State Deadline

State deadlines are especially important for those who apply to a school in one state but live in another state. The deadline that the school has in place can be different from the one the university has. When it comes time for your future college student to apply for financial aid, you must make sure that he or she files the FAFSA and all verifying information prior to the deadline set by the state. If that information arrives after the deadline, the school may not have the right to award any financial aid to your child.

Last Chance

Many states stick to the same FAFSA deadlines used by the government itself. This gives you until June 30 to apply for financial aid. When you visit the official FAFSA website, you can create a free account for your child or let your child do it. The site will assign a pin number that the student can use in the future to make any changes to the information he or she can use to change the information listed. June 30 is the last change that students have to file the FAFSA online because the site will remove this feature after that date.

Check the School

While you need to make every attempt to file the FAFSA prior to any of these deadlines, many schools understand that problems can arise that prevent students from filing. That is why many schools can help students who missed the deadline. Those students can make an appointment with the financial aid department, explain that they need help filing the FAFSA and work with someone to file that form after the deadline. While they may get some aid, they will likely not get as much as if they filed by the deadline.

Filing the FAFSA is important because it provides college students with access to different forms of financial aid. They may qualify for student loans, grants from the state government or federal government grants and work study programs. The FAFSA deadlines that parents must know about include those set by the state and the school.