How to Complete the FAFSA
Aprox 70% of student financial aid is provided by the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid (FSA) program.
These step-by-step instructions will guide you through the process:
Time Required: 180 minutes
Get the Form
Many schools have paper forms on hand and will assist you in the application process. The FAFSA is also available online at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov
Applying online is recommended because the process is both faster and easier. The FAFSA website has an excellent help section the will guide you through the entire form and the schools that you list on you application will receive your processed information more quickly.
Gather Your Documentation
Once you have decided between the electronic form and the paper form, gather the documents you will need, including identification, records of earnings (income tax returns, bank statements, investment records, etc.) Dependent students will need their parents' information.
An exact list of documentation can be found at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov
Answer the Questions
The form should be filled out as completely and accurately as possible. If you are having trouble understanding any of the questions, visit http://www.fafsa.ed.gov or call 1.800.4.FED.AID (1-800-433-3243).
Double-Check Your Application
Proofread your form and make sure everything has been answered correctly. Make sure that you have provided the necessary signatures. If you are applying online, you will be given a pin number, which acts as your electronic signature.
Submit Your Application
If you are submitting your application online, follow all instructions very carefully. Before transmitting, print a copy for your records.
If you are mailing a paper application, do not send any additional documentation in the envelope and make copies of the entire application before sending it. An envelope should have been provided in your application packet. Use this envelope to submit the application.
Wait for the Results
The Department of Education will evaluate your application and calculate an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) for you. The results will then be sent to the schools listed on your application form. Another copy will also be sent to you.