FAFSA Resource Library: Planning Calendar

 FAFSA Planning Calendar πŸ“…

The following timeline can be used to guide planning and activities throughout the FAFSA completion cycle. The links will take you to the content pages of NCAN's FAFSA Completion Resource Library.


  • Start planning your FAFSA work for the year, and make sure to include partners in this process.
  • Cultivate new partnerships and strengthen old ones. Are there less-obvious partners you should include in this work?
  • Identify current or potential champion(s) for this work.
  • Start getting the word out to students and families about why, when, how and what’s involved in FAFSA completion.



  • FAFSA opens Oct. 1!
  • Plan and execute kickoff events – start off with energy!
  • Train partners on how they can help with FAFSA completion efforts.
  • Launch outreach/communication campaigns and messaging. Make sure to start dispelling myths.
  • Host FAFSA completion event(s).
  • Do you have access to student-level FAFSA completion data? If not, learn how to get that information.


  • Continue to offer large- and small-group FAFSA completion events, both in school and in the community, along with one-on-one assistance where possible.
  • Target students with unique/less-common situations, and make sure you can assist them with FAFSA completion. Make sure early decision applicants meet the FAFSA deadlines.
  • Make sure you know how to help students with financial aid appeals and how to interpret financial aid offers, which may start coming in by now.

December – March

  • Ensure you have access to student-level FAFSA completion data, and work to make that happen if you don’t.
  • Use those data to target and reach out to non-completers.
  • Keep doing what you’ve been doing. Focus on small-group and one-on-one FAFSA completion assistance, if possible.
  • Keep the momentum going through targeted communications to students and parents.
  • Continue assisting students with atypical situations and helping them understand aid offers. (It couldn’t hurt to start helping students identify scholarships too.)
  • Continue to host FAFSA completion event(s).
  • Provide one-on-one FAFSA completion assistance.
  • Assist students with completing the FAFSA verification process.
  • Share FAFSA data on a regular basis with administrators and partners.

April – May

  • Keep the momentum going through continued outreach, events, and FAFSA completion data analysis.

June – July

  • This is it. Get those last few students to complete the FAFSA before they leave for the summer and become more difficult to reach.
  • Start all over again, and begin thinking about how to refine and strengthen your FAFSA completion work for next year!