When Is a Deadline Not a Deadline?
It is super-Tuesday and I have yet to vote. It was a choice between arising early and stand in line or sleep later and vote on the way home from work and stand in line. Obviously, I took the latter.
In this case for me, waiting does not have a real consequence. I will still have the opportunity to vote and my vote will count the same regardless if I go at 7:00am or 7:00pm. However, when it comes to financial aid deadlines, there may be consequences for filing late.
First, let me explain how things work at Vanderbilt. Our priority deadline for filing for need-based financial aid for regular decision period is February 1. However, we will continue to process applications as they are received, giving full consideration for Vanderbilt assistance even though the application(s) may have been submitted after the February 1 priority deadline.
From a practical standpoint, however, the later you choose to file will translate into a financial aid decision that is issued later. Since our matriculation deadline is May 1, our goal is to have your financial aid decision in the hands of students well in advance of this deadline. Obviously, if you file on April 1, we will evaluate your eligibility and send notification within 2-3 weeks. This will not leave a great deal of time to plan and ask questions prior to the May 1 deadline. Also, the failure to file by a deadline may affect eligibility for certain types of state financial aid assistance.
I am often am asked the question: “Should I wait until my tax returns are finished before filing for assistance.” The answer, typically is ‘no.’ You should estimate your income, if necessary, to file as close to our deadline as possible. We will ask for a copy of both parent and student tax returns, so we will update the application information to be correct with the final tax return. However, please understand, absent final (and accurate) income figures on the FAFSA and PROFILE applications, our estimated award to the student is as good as the income provided to us.
Now, if I can only find my voter registration card…