March 15 is New FAFSA Priority Filing Deadline for The University of Texas at Austin

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) priority filing deadline for The University of Texas at Austin has been moved to March 15 in an effort to help students maximize opportunities in their quest for educational funding.

The FAFSA priority filing deadline is the date by which financial aid applications must be filed with the United States Department of Education for students to be assured they will receive the most favorable financial aid package, including as much grant and scholarship funding as possible. The guidelines allow students to apply as early as Jan. 1 if they have obtained all tax and other information that is requested on the FAFSA forms.

Tom Melecki, the university's director of student financial services, said the new FAFSA priority filing deadline will affect about 25,000 prospective and current students seeking financial aid to attend classes in the summer and fall semesters of 2012, as well as the spring semester in 2013.

"The deadline previously had been later in March," said Melecki. "It was moved to March 15 because that matches the date on which the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board requires qualifying resident students to file and ensure 'priority status' for Texas' Top 10 percent scholarships." He said 74 percent of the enrolled freshmen who came from Texas high schools were admitted under Senate Bill 175 (the modified Top 10 Percent Law). About 58 percent demonstrated financial need and therefore qualified for the scholarship in fall 2011.

Melecki said the new priority filing deadline falls on a day when most high schools in Texas are on spring break, a time when families can focus on completing the FAFSA without school-based activities conflicting.

Students who already are enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin may continue to take advantage of on-campus FAFSA completion seminars, which will be offered throughout the spring semester, prior to March 15.