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College Planning Timeline


Enrollment in all degree-granting postsecondary institutions is expected to increase 15 percent between fall 2014, the last year of actual data, and fall 2025. Increases in both public and private degree-granting postsecondary institutions is anticipated, with an estimated 23.3 million college students enrolled by 2025.1

Whether you’re starting or returning to college, it’s a good idea to set up a plan so you can feel confident about your responsibilities. Following is a yearly calendar of events to help keep you on track (exact dates may vary by school).

Month Activity

Start considering school options.

BALANCE Article: 5 Things You Need To Start Your FAFSA Application

September 10: BALANCE Webinar – FAFSA: The Key To Unlocking Student Aid • 11:30 AM

September 19: BALANCE Webinar – FAFSA: The Key To Unlocking Student Aid • 6:30 PM


Schedule college campus visits.

Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Apply for second-semester student loans. Learn more at


Review the FAFSA Student Aid Report (SAR) to confirm accuracy.

Prepare admissions applications or submit early decision applications.


Submit school admissions applications.

BALANCE Article: Four Tips That Will Kickstart Your College Savings Plan


Look for scholarship opportunities both locally and at Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education.

BALANCE Article: College Planning 101


Draft a college budget.

BALANCE Podcast: Finances for College Students


Review any award letters received and explore the grants, scholarships, and federal loans you have been offered.

SLFCU Scholarship Essay Competition opens. Visit for more information.


Make your final choice of school.

Determine your total cost and any additional funding needed.


Update and adjust your college budget based on school selection.

BALANCE Article for Family Discussion: Paying for College: Dealing with the Student Loan Crunch


Submit private student loan applications. Learn more at

BALANCE Article: Choosing the Right Student Loan


Finalize your college budget based on acquisition of scholarships, grants, and student loan(s).

BALANCE Article: College Students, Which Credit Card is Right for You?



1. Hussar, W.J., and Bailey, T.M. (2017). Projections of Education Statistics to 2025 (NCES 2017-019). U.S. Department of Education, Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

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