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Ways to Apply for FAFSA

There are three ways to apply for and submit your FAFSA.

There is no charge for submitting your form.

Be prepared to provide a lot of information about your family: income, copies of income taxes, family size, the number of family members attending college, and more.

Option 1: Fill out the FAFSA online

Filing online is the fastest and easiest method of applying, and offers you:

  • The option to complete the form in English and Spanish.
  • Detailed online help screens.
  • Online chat capability with a customer service representative.
  • Built-in error detectors that can reduce the chances that your application gets rejected.
  • Verification that the application was transmitted successfully.
  • Application processing within 3-5 days, compared to 2-4 weeks with the paper FAFSA.

To start the FAFSA application process, visit FAFSA online. You will be guided step-by-step through the preliminary application process to:

  • Gather necessary documentation.
  • Apply for a PIN. Note: A Federal Student Aid ID (username and password) will replace the PIN beginning in Spring 2015.
  • Check your eligibility for federal student aid.
  • Note important deadlines.

Option 2: Apply for the FAFSA with a PDF

The downloadable PDF of the FAFSA application can either be printed to fill out manually, or is “screen fillable,” which means you can type your information directly on the form before you print it. You will need a PIN and Social Security number to complete the form. Once complete, you mail in your FAFSA application. It will be processed in 2-4 weeks.

Option 3: Request a FAFSA in the mail

You can request a FAFSA application by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at (800) 4-FED-AID (433-3243); TTY: (800) 730-8913. A copy of the form will be sent to you.

Complete the paper FAFSA application, make a copy for your records, and mail it in the pre-addressed envelope included in your FAFSA packet. Your FAFSA application will be processed in 2-4 weeks.

Submitting your FAFSA application

To apply for federal student aid, you must complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application every year.

College Planning Calculator

Every student and their family has their own unique path towards paying for college. Build your overall plan with the College Planning CalculatorSM, a free tool that helps calculate the expected cost of college and how you will successfully pay for it with savings, income, scholarships, grants, and loans.

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Next steps

Now that you know how to apply for the FAFSA, it is vital to meet the application deadline.

Don’t miss the FAFSA application deadline.

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