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FAFSA

Free Application for Federal Student Aid

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is a form that can be prepared annually by current and prospective college students in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial aid. Complete the FAFSA form to apply for financial aid for college, career school, or graduate school.

The window for FAFSA opens October 1, 2018 and closes March 1, 2019. However, you can complete your FAFSA form now by clicking the link below.

 

HOW DO YOU COMPLETE FAFSA?

Need to fill out the 2018–19 FAFSA form but don’t know where to start?
We're here to help. Let’s walk through the process step by step.

 
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STEP 1

Create an account (FSA ID)

Students: An FSA ID is a username and password you need to sign the FAFSA form online. If you don’t have an FSA ID, click the link below to create one. 

If this is your first time filling out the FAFSA form, you’ll be able to use your FSA ID right away to sign and submit your FAFSA form online. If this is not your first time filling out the FAFSA form, you may need to wait one to three days for the account verification process before you can use your new FSA ID to renew your FAFSA form and sign it online.

Parents: If your child is required to report parent information on the FAFSA form, you need to create your own FSA ID in order to sign your child’s FAFSA form online. Create an FSA ID with the link below. Parents are able to use their FSA IDs right away.

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STEP 2

Start the FAFSA Form

The 2018–19 FAFSA form is now available! Even if your state and school deadlines aren’t for a while, you should complete the FAFSA form as soon as possible because some states and schools run out of financial aid early and have limited funds for financial aid. Click the link below to get started on your form today!

Students: Click “Enter your (the student's) FSA ID.” Then enter your FSA ID username and password, and click “Next.”

Parents: Click “Enter the student’s information.” Then provide the student’s name, Social Security number, and date of birth, and click “Next.”

Choose which FAFSA form you'd like to complete:

  • 2018–19 FAFSA form if you will be attending college between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019.

  • 2017–18 FAFSA form if you will be attending college between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018.

  • Both If you will be attending college during both time periods and haven’t completed your 2017–18 FAFSA form yet, complete that first, wait one to three days until it processes , then go back in and complete the 2018–19 FAFSA form.

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STEP 3

Fill Out the Student Demographics Section

Students: If you have completed the FAFSA form in the past or if you log into the FAFSA form with your FSA ID, a lot of your personal information will be prepopulated to save you time. Make sure you enter your personal information exactly as it appears on your Social Security card.

Parents: Remember that the FAFSA form is the student’s application. When the FAFSA form says “you” or “your,” it’s referring to the student. Pay attention to whether you’re being asked for student or parent information. The banner on the left side will indicate whether you’re on a student or parent page.

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STEP 4

List the Schools to Which You Want Your FAFSA Information Sent

In the School Selection section, add every school you’re considering, even if you haven’t applied or been accepted yet. It doesn’t hurt your application to add more schools; colleges can’t see the other schools you’ve added. In fact, you don’t even have to remove schools if you later decide not to apply or attend. If you don’t end up applying or getting accepted to a school, the school can just disregard your FAFSA form. But, you can remove schools at any time to make room for new schools. You can add up to 10 schools at a time

If you are applying to more than 10 schools, visit the link below.

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STEP 5

Answer the Dependency Status Questions

In the dependency status section, you’ll be asked a series of specific questions to determine whether you are required to provide parent information on the FAFSA form. The dependency guidelines are set by Congress and are different from those used by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Even if you live on your own, support yourself, and file taxes on your own, you may still be considered a dependent student for federal student aid purposes. If you are determined to be a dependent student, you’ll be required to report information about your parent(s). If you’re determined to be an independent student, you won’t have to provide parent information and you can skip the next step.

For more information about being considered dependent or independent, click the tab below.

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STEP 6

Fill Out the Parent Demographics Section

This is where your parent(s) will provide basic demographic information. It does not matter if you do not live with your parent(s); you still must report information about them if you were determined to be a dependent student in the step above.

If you are unable to provide parent information due to special circumstances, click the link below for more information.

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STEP 7

Supply Your Financial Information

Here is where you and your parent(s) (if applicable) will provide your financial information. This step is incredibly simple if you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). The IRS DRT allows you to import your IRS tax information into the FAFSA form with just a few clicks. Using this tool also may reduce the amount of paperwork you need to provide to your school.

To find out how to transfer tax information into your FAFSA form, click the link below.

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STEP 8

Sign and Submit Your FAFSA Form

The quickest and easiest way to sign your FAFSA form is online with your FSA ID.

Students: If you logged in to the FAFSA form with your FSA ID, you won’t need to provide it again on this page. However, if you’re a dependent student, your parent will still need to sign before you can completely submit.

  • Make sure you and your parent don’t mix up your FSA IDs. This is one of the most common errors and it’s extremely important for each person to create his or her own FSA ID and not share it with anyone.

  • Make sure the parent who is using his or her FSA ID to sign the FAFSA form chooses the right parent number from the drop-down menu. If your parent doesn’t remember whether he or she was listed as Parent 1 or Parent 2, he or she can go back to the parent demographics section to check.

If you or your parent forgot your FSA ID, you can retrieve the FSA ID by following the steps in the link below.

  • ​​​​If you have siblings, your parent can use the same FSA ID to sign FAFSA forms for all of his or her children. Your parent can also transfer his or her information into your sibling’s application by choosing the option provided on the FAFSA confirmation page.

  • We recommend signing the FAFSA form with an FSA ID because it’s the fastest way to get your FAFSA form processed. However, if you and/or your parent are unable to sign the FAFSA form electronically with an FSA ID, you can mail in a signature page. From the sign and submit page, select “Other options to sign and submit” and then choose “Print A Signature Page.” Just keep in mind that your FAFSA form will take longer to process if you go this route.

  • If you receive an error stating your FSA ID information does not match the information provided on the FAFSA form, follow the steps in the link below.