Every college has the right to set their own priority deadline for financial aid. Each college’s deadline can be different, but missing the deadline can create very expensive consequences.
If you are applying for financial aid … and EVERYONE should file the FAFSA and CSS Profile … missing the Priority filing deadline will deny you any appeal about your financial aid. Whether you planned on making an appeal due to financial hardship or because you know the financial aid director has discretion in awarding tuition discounts (regardless of financial need), missing the deadline will get you a closed door.
Through many conversation I have had with financial aid directors at various colleges, I have yet to see any exceptions granted when the filing deadline was missed. It didn’t matter if the family was one day late.
This is also critical because, as we all know, life happens.
Consider the family who filed for financial aid in May 2017 and requested consideration for more aid for the 2017-18 school year. Their 2015 income (on the FAFSA) was so much higher than their 2016 and 2017 income. One parent had become disabled and the other was home as care giver. Clearly, the family’s 2015 income provided no clue as to the difficulties they were facing when the tuition bill arrived.
Normally, the financial aid director can review the financial aid award and increase the grant aid based on the family’s recent hardship. But this family missed the priority deadline and was met with a small amount of understanding and a stone wall. They were refused a review, “because if we make an exception for anyone, everyone will be asking to be an exception”, they were told.
The first thing you should do is create a chart that lists every college to which an application may reasonably be sent and includes Stated Cost per the college’s website
and FAFSA Priority Deadline. Leave room for more financial information later in the process. Begin this chart no later than the summer between high school junior and senior years. For more help making the financial aid process work FOR you rather than against you, visit www.Getting MoneyForCollege.com.