The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the most daunting of the financial aid forms, but it doesn't have to be. See how Fastweb simplifies the form.
WHAT is the FAFSA?
It is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and is used to determine the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), which determines eligibility for need-based financial aid. The form will ask for student financial information, family size and the number of family members enrolled in college as well as the student's age, marital status and other demographic characteristics that will be used to determine whether the applicant is an independent student or dependent. If a student is dependent, parent information will also be required on the form.
WHY should I fill it out?
Completing and submitting the FAFSA is free and gives you access to federal student aid to pay for your college, university or career school education. In addition, it can be used to apply for state grants and money from most colleges and universities.
WHO needs to fill out the form?
If the student is a dependent student, the application asks for information from both students and parents. However, if the student is an independent student, the application asks for information from the student. Furthermore, if the student is married, information from the student's spouse.
WHAT do I need to fill out the form?
Besides a FAFSA worksheet, school codes and a pin number, you need these items: FAFSA checklist.
WHERE do I get the FAFSA worksheet, school code and pin?
Grab the worksheet and school codes at and the pin at
HOW do I fill it out?
It's easiest to fill out the application online at because using an online form will yield a more accurate and quicker result. However, paper copies can be requested by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).
WHEN is the form due?
It should be submitted as soon as possible on or after January 1 of the student's senior year in high school and each subsequent year, but it has an 18-month application cycle and can be submitted as late as June 30 of the academic year, or the by the last day of classes if that falls first. However, many states and colleges award their own financial aid funds based on the form, and may have much earlier deadlines for students to complete it. You can find school deadlines here.
Still confused? You're not alone.
Follow Peter as he learns how to file his form.

FAFSA Articles

  • FAFSA and the Independent Student

    FAFSA and the Independent Student
    "I am a college sophomore and I pay for school myself. For the last two years, I have used my parents' tax information on the FAFSA. Since I pay for school myself without any help from my parents, should I list only my own tax information to be eligible for more aid?" This is a common question about the FAFSA: When ...
    Published December 20, 2012
  • Avoid FAFSA Mistakes that Can Cost You

    Avoid FAFSA Mistakes that Can Cost You
    A mistake on your FAFSA can delay the processing of your application for financial aid! Previously, 30 percent of all FAFSAs were selected for verification, a process intended to identify and correct common errors. Some colleges voluntarily required 100 percent of FAFSAs to undergo verification. Today, the US Department of Education is transitioning to a targeted verification system, where a risk ...
    Published December 14, 2012
  • FAFSA Checklist

    FAFSA Checklist
    The FAFSA: one of - if not the most, daunting of financial aid forms. The name alone can make students shudder in fear. But, there's no reason to be afraid, Fastwebbers! We've got you covered; letting you know everything you need before you even think about filling out the form. It's important to gather all the necessary information and materials beforehand. ...
    Published October 30, 2013
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