Don't delay! Apply today! Follow this financial aid checklist to make sure you don't get left behind. January of each year is the starting point in completing the Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA) for the school year that begins in August. Scholarship applications and most third party payers require you to complete the FAFSA even though you may not qualify for grants. It is to your advantage to apply early. Some aid sources are first come first serve and exhaust quickly.