Which FAFSA Should I Complete?

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By Kristen Kuchar

September 25, 2020

From October to June, there are two versions of the FAFSA available, one for the current academic year and one for the next academic year. 

During this overlap period, when a student is filing out the FAFSA, there could be confusion on which FAFSA to fill out. 

Which FAFSA you should complete depends on the academic year for which you are applying for financial aid.

For example, from October 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, you could be applying for financial aid for either the 2020-2021 academic year or the 2021-2022 academic year. 

If you’re applying for financial aid for the 2020–2021 academic school year, file a 2020–2021 FAFSA form, which is based on 2018 income tax returns. If you’re applying for financial aid for the 2021–2022 school year, you should file a 2021–2022 FAFSA form, which is based on 2019 income tax returns.

Most students who file a FAFSA during the overlap period are filing the FAFSA for the upcoming academic year. For example, starting on October 1, 2020, more than 90% of applicants will be filing the FAFSA for the 2021-2022 academic year that begins in fall 2021. 

If you plan to attend summer classes, contact your college’s financial aid office to determine which application they prefer for summer sessions. Some colleges treat the summer session as a trailer for the previous academic year and others treat it as a header to the next academic year. 

See also:

Complete Guide to Financial Aid and the FAFSA

A good place to start:

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