FAFSA on the Web Provides Speedy Financial Aid Processing
The best way to apply for financial aid is to take care of your FAFSA on the web. It’s quick, it’s easy, and you even get the benefit of having the online system check your application for errors and omissions. If you have a question as you go along, you can have it answered immediately, or even ask customer service representative to help you if your question is too specific for the online system’s more general prompts.
The online FAFSA processing system is a secure system where users receive a personal identification number (PIN) to protect their privacy prior to starting their applications. To further protect yourself, remember to exit the application and close your browser once you’re done with your FAFSA, or need to return to it later. Keep that PIN a secret; you’ll only be using it when applying for your FAFSA or looking at your resulting Student Aid Report (SAR) after you’ve already applied for federal student financial aid. The information you provide online is further safeguarded through a process of encryption, meaning any information you submit on the web is scrambled and unreadable to anyone who may come across it maliciously.
You’re also protected from having your (and potentially, your parents’) personal documents strewn about your FAFSA application workspace. Since everything is online, you’ll find everything you need to complete the process of applying for college financial aid, including the online FAFSA form, school codes, submission deadlines, and more, on that website. Once the form is completed, you’ll be able to check its status, make any corrections as needed, and print your SAR once it’s ready.
FAFSA financial aid forms submitted via the federal government’s web-based system are processed very quickly. When you complete your FAFSA online, you won’t have to wait very long to find out how much funding you’re eligible for, and what types of college financial aid you should expect. Knowing how much federal aid you’ll be receiving is always something you should want to know sooner rather than later, so that you can seek out other means of funding to cover those college costs. (A free scholarship search, for example, is always a great option to start figuring out alternatives to paying for college.)
If you aren’t comfortable filling out your federal application for student financial aid online, you can still submit a paper form by sending it through the mail. Just remember that it does take longer to process paper forms than those submitted via the Internet, so consider that when deciding when to apply. A good rule of thumb when filling out a FAFSA online or in paper form is to complete your application as soon as it’s available, which is January 1st of each year. The FAFSA on the Web is due June 30th of each year, although state deadlines are often much earlier than federal deadlines.