The Department of Education made several changes over the past few years to make the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) easier to complete. Lucky you! The FAFSA can be finished in only five steps; are you ready to begin?
When completing the application, you'll need the following materials. Keep in mind if you're a dependent student, you'll also need your parent's information.
*You may submit the FAFSA using an estimated tax return; however, schools may require you to include your most recent tax return(s) in order to qualify for financial aid.
How do you know if you're considered a dependent or independent student? Use UCanGo2's Dependency Questionnaire PDF.
A PIN is your Personal Identification Number. You'll use your PIN to electronically sign your FAFSA and your student loan applications, and make corrections on your form. Like any other PIN you may have, write it down and keep it in a safe place; you'll use this PIN again next year with your renewal FAFSA. If you're a dependent student, your parent will also need a PIN. Go to pin.ed.gov to sign up.
For the quickest processing time, you'll want to complete the FAFSA online at FAFSA.gov. The online application takes three to five days, on average, to process versus four to six weeks with the paper application.
When using the online application:
You're almost ready to submit your application, but first, print a copy of your answers from the Sign and Submit page and review for errors. If everything looks correct, enter your PIN, which serves as your electronic signature, and hit the "Submit" button. Review your confirmation page for information about the schools you've selected and a possible estimate of your financial aid eligibility.
Keep an eye on your inbox and watch for a Student Aid Report (SAR) and information from the schools who received your FAFSA results. Carefully review the information provided or additional information requested, and send any additional information back as soon as possible. Once your application is finished, the financial aid office will send you an award letter letting you know what types of aid youíre eligible for. You donít have to accept all of the aid awarded. Borrow only what you need for school expenses, like tuition, books and housing.