You must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA
) if you want to apply for federal and state financial aid. Many colleges and universities, especially public institutions, also require the FAFSA. You must submit it every year that you want aid.
Obtaining Your Free Application for Federal Student Aid
The form is available in several formats, including online, PDF and paper versions.
Course Hero $4k College Giveaway
Easy to Enter, No Essay Needed
The best option is to complete the web-based version
. It includes step-by-step instructions for completing the online version as well as preapplication worksheets. You can obtain a FSA ID to electronically sign the form too
. If you have technical questions about the Web form, call 1-800-4-FED-AID.
Federal Student aid FAFSA on the Web offers several benefits, including:
• You will get your Student Aid Report (SAR) sooner than with the paper or PDF forms.
• It will be more accurate, since the Web form has built-in edit checks to catch simple errors and you avoid errors introduced by the OCR process.
$1,000 June Scholarship
Each new school year is an opportunity for a fresh start, so we're giving away a $1,000 scholarship to help kickoff the new school year.
• You will save the federal government money by reducing their processing costs.
• Submitting the form online allows you to list up to ten colleges, while the paper version has space only for four colleges.
Most families complete the FAFSA online
It's getting easier to file every year! Now, you can even file for free federal financial aid from your mobile device
Course Hero June Sweepstakes
Enter to win $1,000 or a $500 Lululemon gift
Paper versions are no longer bulk-distributed to high schools, colleges and libraries, with a few exceptions. (The exceptions involve organizations that work with underrepresented populations and students that do not have access to the Internet or a phone.) However, students may obtain up to three copies of the paper version by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3242) or 1-391-337-5665. (Hearing impaired individuals should call the TTY number 1-800-730-8913.) Paper forms can be ordered starting November 1 of each year.
Note that Free Application for Federal Student Aid form may not be submitted before October 1, even if the paper and PDF versions are available sooner.
FinAid's Financial Aid Estimation Form
may be used to calculate your EFC and an estimate of your eligibility for financial aid. This may help you understand a bit about how the federal need analysis system works.
You can also run "what-if" experiments to see how much aid you'll get under various scenarios. FinAid also has a QuickEFC
calculator that uses much fewer questions to yield a ballpark estimate of your EFC.
Like FinAid's EFC calculator, the US Department of Education's FAFSA4CASTER
tool also provides an early estimate of financial aid eligiblity. It is similar to FAFSA on the Web, but omits a handful of questions (e.g., drug conviction, selective service, parent education level, list of colleges, signatures).
The FinAid tool provides more detailed analysis and more detailed aid eligibility information, but FAFSA4CASTER will potentially be linked with FAFSA on the Web for prefilling the answers to some of the FAFSA questions.
This article originally appeared on FinAid.org.
Need more FAFSA help? Find everything you need to help you file for financial aid here on Fastweb.