How Do I Fill Out the FAFSA?

How Do I Fill Out the FAFSA?Every student applying to attend a college or university that is recognized by the US Department of Education should fill out a Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA). This is true for both students who are in need of financial aid and other students who are not sure if they will qualify based on their income and assets. In fact, many colleges and universities will require anyone who wants to enroll in school to submit their application before they can enroll in classes. Since this requirement is getting stricter than ever, learning how to fill out the Federal Application for Financial Student Aid is crucial. Luckily, filling in and submitting the application has never been easier now that it has gone electronic. Read on, and find out the steps that you need to take to access, complete, and submit your application.

Accessing the Financial Aid Application

Accessing the electronic application for financial aid is quick and easy. As long as you have access to a computer that uses Internet Explorer, you can visit the FAFSA website and then click the button that says Start a New FAFSA. By clicking on this button, you will be directed to a student information login screen. This screen asks for your Name, Social Security Number and Date of Birth. Once entered, simply click “Next” and you will be directed to the application for the current or upcoming school year.

Gathering Documentation and Filling Out Your Application

You will be asked for basic personal information and also more detailed information as you are filling out the application. You can easily answer the basic questions, but will need to be sure to verify the answers given about your parents and income, and assets. If you are not sure whether or not you are a dependent, you can answer a questionnaire and the tool will determine that for you. Having documents handy can help make the process easier. Some of the documents that you will need include:

* Social Security Card (yours and your parents, if dependent)
* Driver’s License
* Federal tax returns or W2’s from the prior year
* Records of untaxed income
* Checking account and savings account balances

As part of the application process, you will be asked to list the colleges that you plan on attending. You can enter school codes or search for the school and select the code on the database. You are allowed to select up to 5 schools to submit your application to if you are not sure where you will be attending.

Submitting Your Application for Review

Once you have entered the personal and financial information, you will be ready to sign and submit your application. To electronically sign, you will need a PIN that you must apply for by visiting https://pin.ed.gov/PINWebApp/pinindex.jsp. After you have entered information about your identity, a conditions PIN will be issued and can be used immediately. If you already have a PIN, you can request a replacement. With the PIN, you can sign your application and then it will be sent to the financial aid departments of the schools you selected.

The Internet has made applying for grants easier than ever. It is best to fill out your application well in advance to avoid delays in processing. Log in to the website with all of your records nearby and start completing your FAFSA as early as possible.

For additional information on funding college, please see: How Do I Find Scholarships for College?