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Big FAFSA Overview

By Chris Diehl

January 03, 2013

FAFSA Made Faster

FAFSA on the Web also offers features that are only available online:

  • Sample worksheet: Completing the worksheet insures you’re organized when you start the online application. The order of questions on the paper FAFSA differs from the Web version. So use the worksheet, not a paper FAFSA, as a guide.
  • Save a copy: Can’t finish your FAFSA in one sitting? No problem. Save what you’ve already completed and come back. Take care to remember your password. If you forget it, you’ll be forced to start over since the Department of Education doesn’t keep a record of passwords.
  • Electronic signature page: You can sign the FAFSA electronically using your PIN number.
  • Make corrections: Once you receive your SAR, you may need to make corrections. FAFSA on the Web enables you to make corrections online.
  • Check your status: Using your PIN, you can check whether your FAFSA was received, completed, is in process of being completed, or is in rejected status.

Renewal FAFSA on the Web

If you filled out the FAFSA last year, you may be eligible to fill out a shorter version known as the Renewal FAFSA on the Web. The Renewal FAFSA on the Web has fewer questions to answer and is available on the FAFSA Web site.

Other Tips

As with the paper FAFSA, if you file your FAFSA online, you’ll want to complete it as soon after January 1st as possible. Many colleges give priority to students who submit their FAFSA applications early, especially if funds are scarce; don’t miss out on possible aid because you procrastinated.

You can call the Department of Education Help Desk toll-free at: 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) if you have questions about the FAFSA on the Web or your PIN. Remember that FAFSA on the Web, applying for a PIN and using the 800 number are free services.

No matter if you’re a returning college student filling out the renewal form or a high school senior filling out the FAFSA for the first time, print out a copy for your records. A paper copy can come in handy if you need to reference anything later.


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