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Financial Aid: FAFSA & CSS Profile

FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. a free, online application for financial aid for college. FAFSA opens each year on October 1 and requires the previous year's taxes; for example, a student entering college in Fall of 2021 would start the FAFSA Oct. 1, 2020 using their parent(s)/guardian(s)' 2019 taxes (this is not a typo; the FAFSA requires "prior prior year" taxes).

To start the FAFSA application: apply for an FSA ID here (one for student and separate one for parent/guardian); keep track of this ID & password for future years!

Colleges often have priority deadlines for FAFSA submission. Check with the college of your choice!

Students & parents need to submit the FAFSA every year that the student is in college.


Colleges typically set Priority Deadlines for students to complete the FAFSA. These are NOT drop-dead deadlines after which the college will not accept your FAFSA; rather, they are dates by which the college would prefer to have your FAFSA on file, so that they can allocate their limited financial aid award money in a timely manner. You have the best chance of receiving college financial aid if you submit the FAFSA by their Priority Deadline, and the best chance of receiving Grant $ from the federal government if you complete your FAFSA as soon as possible after Oct. 1 each year.

FAFSA Priority Deadlines at popular colleges:

UNM: Jan. 5, 2021

Arizona State University: Jan. 15, 2021

Northern Arizona University: Feb. 1, 2021

Eastern NM University: Feb. 14, 2021

CNM: March 1, 2021

Colorado State University: March 1, 2021

NM State: March 1, 2021

NM Tech: March 1, 2021

Texas Tech University: March 1, 2021