Free Application For Student Aid (FAFSA)

College bound students should complete their FAFSA form now.  The website is http://www.fafsa.gov.  Students who want to receive any form of financial aid (including loans, scholarships or grants) are required to fill out the FAFSA every year.  Typically, the FAFSA opens on Jan. 1 of each year and is due at a certain priority deadline, which changes depending on school. However, this year, the application process was moved to October 1.  Here are the steps you will need to take:

Step 1: Get Your FSA ID:  Both the student and one parent need Federal Student Aid Identification Numbers (FSA IDs).  Visit fsaid.ed.gov to get an FSA ID.

Step 2: Enter your personal information:  You will need the student’s date of birth, social security number, parents’ date of birth, parents’ social security numbers, student’s driver’s license number (if pertinent).

Step 3:  Enter your financial information:  You will need a copy of student’s and parent’s tax return from the previous year.  You can also use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer your information.

Step 4:  Choose up to 10 schools:  You can add up to 10 schools to your FAFSA at a time. Your information will be sent to the schools you listed so they can calculate the amount of financial aid you are eligible to receive.  

Step 5:  Sign the FAFSA with your FSA ID:  Your FSA ID serves as your electronic signature, or e-signature. You’ll use it to electronically sign and submit your FAFSA.

Steps to Filing Your FAFSA Online

FAFSA does not supply paper FAFSA forms you must file electronically.

Below are directions for filing your FAFSA online:

  1. Apply early. The earlier you apply, the more likely it is that you will get a better financial aid package. You can begin applying by October 1.
  2. If you do not have a pin number to apply for federal aid, apply on the following website: studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa. You may request a pin number at that time or have them to email one to you. You must have an active email address for your pin number to be sent to you. If you are a dependent student, a parent must apply for a pin number also. Please place your pin number in a safe place, because this will be your pin number as long as you received financial aid.
  3. After you have received your pin number, go to https://fafsa.gov/. The FAFSA is free. Do not pay to complete the FAFSA. Make sure you do not go to the wrong website. They will charge you a fee to input your FAFSA for you!
  4. After you are on the FAFSA website, select “Start A New FAFSA”.
  5. Names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers must be accurate. Use only the legal name that appears on your Social Security card. Using nicknames or preferred names will cause significant delays.
  6. Gather federal tax information for you and your parents. If they have not yet filed their income taxes, use income estimates and file the FAFSA no later than Feb. 15. Many colleges may want the results of your processed FAFSA by March 1.
  7. Review your answers and if necessary correct them before transmitting your application.
  8. If you filled out your FAFSA without a pin number, print out the signature page and mail it to the address on the same page. Your application will be processed faster if you use your pin number.
  9. You can now submit your FAFSA. The website then takes you to a web page that confirms you have successfully transmitted your FAFSA. Note your confirmation number and your estimated Expected Family Contribution (EFC). This EFC is used to determine the types and amounts of aid you will receive.