How to Fill out the FAFSA
FAFSA is the KEY!
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the key
that opens the door to financial aid. It serves as the application
for most financial aid from federal and state programs as well as
from colleges and universities. Even if you are not sure that you
will need financial aid, we recommend that you fill out a
FAFSA anyway - it's free.
Prepare and Submit
Prepare and submit your FAFSA as soon as possible after October
1 of the year prior to your college start date.
For example, if you plan to attend college beginning in the fall of
2018, you may submit your FAFSA after October 1,
2017 and until June 30, 2019.
Confused? Use the FAFSA WHEN? Calculator to see during which
date range you can file your FAFSA as well as learn what tax return
year to use for the period you plan to attend.
The quickest and most accurate way to file the
FAFSA is online. In contrast to a paper copy, the online form
displays only the data entry fields you need to complete. You also
receive directions as you need them.
What you Need
To complete the FAFSA you will need your parents' federal tax
return (or your own if you are an independent student). There is
also a FAFSA on the Web Worksheet (En Espanol) that you can download. While the
worksheets are slightly different from the FAFSA itself, they may
help you gather all the information you may need. Read detailed instructions for each question on the
FAFSA and, all about parents in terms of FAFSA
The FSA ID is your electronic signature for the
FAFSA - and to sign online, your parent(s) must get one too. The
FSA ID consists of a username and password for students, parents,
and loan borrowers.
If you are a new user, you will be asked to
provide identification information to obtain an FSA ID before
proceeding to the FAFSA. Students that already have an FSA ID will
provide their email address and FSA ID password to proceed to the
FAFSA. To get started, go through the FSA ID registration process..
If you prefer to fill out a paper copy of the FAFSA, you can
obtain one through a link at the bottom of the FAFSA log in
The FAFSA may not be the only form required to receive an award
letter from a school. You must also complete the college admissions
process. Check with each of the colleges and universities you
listed on your FAFSA to determine their specific requirements.
If you filed your FAFSA electronically, you will receive an
electronic Student Aid Report (SAR) within a few days of submitting
your completed FAFSA. (SAR results may take three weeks if you file
a paper FAFSA.) The SAR is the result of your FAFSA. Read it
immediately and follow any directions. The schools you listed on
the FAFSA will also receive your results.