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FAFSA on the Web

This web site explains how to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It explains the purpose of the FAFSA questions. This site also contains a section that provides answers to several frequently asked questions (FAQs). If you have additional questions about federal student aid or how to complete an electronic or paper application, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or contact your financial aid administrator (FAA). You can also go to the federal student aid web site here.

Why Complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)?

FAFSA gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college or career school. Every student who is planning on, or even considering going to college should fill out a FAFSA. Even if you think your parents earn too much to receive federal aid, it's important that you still complete the FAFSA, as many states and colleges use the FAFSA to award grants and scholarships. A completed FAFSA is also required in order to take out any federal student loans and can help you qualify for lower-cost, forgivable student loans.

Where Can I Fill Out my FAFSA?

Start your FAFSA application online here or print, fill out, and mail in a FAFSA PDF paper copy. In some cases, you can apply directly through your school. If that is the case, check with the financial aid administrator at your school(s) of interest to see if they will assist you with your application.

FAFSA Basic Eligibility Requirements

  • Demonstrate financial need (for most programs).
  • Be a citizen or eligible noncitizen of the U.S.
  • Have a valid Social Security Number.
  • Have a high school diploma or a General Education Development (GED) certificate, or have completed homeschooling. If you don't, you may still be eligible for federal student aid if you were enrolled in college or career school prior to July 1, 2012.
  • Be enrolled in an eligible program as a regular student seeking a degree or certificate.
  • Be enrolled at least half-time to be eligible for Direct Loan Program funds.
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress.
  • Not owe a refund on a federal student grant or be in default on a federal student loan.
  • Register (or already be registered) with the Selective Service System, if you are a male and not currently on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces. You must register between the ages of 18 and 25.
  • Not have a conviction for the possession or sale of illegal drugs for an offense that occurred while you were receiving federal student aid (such as grants, work-study, or loans). If you have such a conviction, you must complete the Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet to determine if you are eligible for aid or partially eligible for aid.
  • Sign the certification statement on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Other requirements may apply. For additional FAFSA eligibility requirements, click here.

What Do I Need to Complete a FAFSA?

  • Your Social Security number
  • Your Alien Registration number (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
  • Your federal income tax returns, W-2s, and other records of money earned. (Note: You may be able to transfer your federal tax return information into your FAFSA form using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.)
  • Bank statements and records of investments (if applicable
  • Records of untaxed income (if applicable)
  • An FSA ID so you can electronically sign the FAFSA form.
  • If you are a dependent student, you will also need most of the above information for your parent(s).

Using a FSA ID to Electronically Sign Your Application

The FSA ID allows students and parents to identify themselves electronically to access Federal Student Aid websites. A FSA ID contains a username and password and can be used to log into the online Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. While you are not required to have a FSA ID to complete and submit a FAFSA form, it is the fastest way to sign your application and have it processed. It is also the only way to access or correct your information online, or to prefill an online FAFSA form with information from your previous year's FAFSA form.

For Previous FAFSA Applicants

If you applied for aid last year, you do not have to complete the entire FAFSA this year. Instead, you can use a Renewal FAFSA, which is available online and on paper. The online Renewal FAFSA is pre-filled with prior information, making it easier to apply. The applicant will change or add information as needed.

FAFSA Deadlines

To be considered for federal student aid for the 2020–21 award year, you can complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form between October 1, 2019, and 11:59 p.m. Central time (CT) on June 30, 2021. Any FAFSA corrections or updates must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. CT on Sept. 11, 2021.

However, many states and colleges have earlier deadlines for applying for state and institutional financial aid. Find your state's deadline here. Check with the schools you're interested in attending as each college or career school may have its own deadline.

Due to the variation in state and college deadlines, it is highly recommended that you fill out the FAFSA form as soon as you can after October 1 to ensure that you do not miss out on available aid.

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Last Reviewed: October 2019