FAFSA deadline made two months earlier on Jan. 15

Katie Balevic

The priority deadline for the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid, FAFSA, will be Jan. 15, two months earlier than last year’s deadline.

Education freshman Monica Melo said she did not know about the deadline change, despite UT’s Office of Financial Aid’s initiatives to advertise it.

“Even though I have already done (my FAFSA), I kind of panicked,” Melo said. “I don’t think a lot of people know. I didn’t know, and a lot of my friends definitely don’t.”

Beginning with the 2019–2020 application cycle, most Texas public colleges must use Jan. 15 as the new state priority deadline, as opposed to the March 15 deadline used in previous years, according to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. 

Trina Manor, associate director of the Office of Financial Aid, said the new deadline has been advertised on their website and pushed out in emails to students.  “Here at UT, we advertise it as ‘get it in by Jan. 15 so that you can qualify for the most aid,’” Manor said. “But we don’t want people to feel like they can’t apply for financial aid if they miss Jan. 15. There’s always going to be financial aid available.”

Much of the University’s funding for financial aid is not tied to the Jan. 15 deadline, so students do not need to worry if they miss that date, Manor said.

The early FAFSA will take tax information from two years before, Manor said students and parents do not need to rush to file their taxes.

Manor said the changes will likely allow high school students more time to decide which college to attend based on how much aid they receive.

“I think it has to do with encouraging schools to see if they can give earlier packages while admitting students,” Manor said. “If you can give them a financial aid package earlier, they may commit to your
school earlier.”

Athletic training junior Whitley Sepulveda said the late FAFSA deadline delayed her college decision.

 “For me, I didn’t get back my FASFA info until late March, and I didn’t decide until mid April on what school I wanted to go to,” Sepulveda said. “The money was a huge deal for me.”