How to Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
by Courtney Barger
November 05, 2007
What are the steps in applying for aid using the online FAFSA?
- Get A Pin
Before beginning the FAFSA, you should apply for a Federal Student Aid personal identification number (Pin) at www.pin.ed.gov. The PIN will allow you to sign your FAFSA electronically and later to access your processed FAFSA online. After you receive the PIN assigned to you, we recommend you change it to something easy to remember. Don't share your PIN with anyone! If you are providing parent information on the FAFSA, one of your parents also must sign your application. To sign electronically, your parent must apply for his or her own PIN.
- Gather The Information Required To Apply
- Your Social Security number and your parents' Social Security numbers if you are providing parent information.
- Your driver's license number if you have one.
- Your Alien Registration Number if you are not a U.S. citizen.
- Federal tax information or tax returns, including W-2 information, for yourself, for your spouse if you are married, and for your parents if you are providing parent information, using income records for the year prior to the academic year for which you are applying.
-Records of untaxed income (such as Social Security benefits, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits, and veterans benefits and information on savings, investments, and business and farm assets for yourself (and for your parents if you are providing parent information).
- Be Aware of Deadlines
Financial aid deadlines for states and schools are usually earlier then federal deadlines.
- Use The FAFSA On The Web Worksheet
Your college or high school might have a copy of the worksheet, or you can print one from www.fafso.ed.gov. This worksheet is optional, but it will help you collect the information you need to fill out your FAFSA online.
- Complete Your Application
Enter all necessary information at www.fafsa.ed.gov. If you need help, there are help links on each page of the online application.
- Submit Your Application
After you submit your application, make sure you receive a confirmation number. This number tells you your application has been successfully submitted. Keep this confirmation number for your records.
- Follow Up On Your Application
Your application will be processed and you will receive an e-mail with a link to your Student Aid Report (SAR). If you did not provide an e-mail address, you will receive your SAR by mail. You should review your SAR for any necessary corrections or updates. If you do not hear from us within three weeks, go to www.fafsa.ed.gov and select. "Check status of a submitted FAFSA or Print Signature Page."
There Is Free Help Available
At www.fafsa.ed.gov "Help" buttons on every page of the online application will take you to additional help. You can also click the "Live Help" button to chat with a customer service representative directly online between the hours of 8 a.m. and midnight Eastern time.
For additional information go to the online version of Funding Education Beyond High School" The Guide to Federal Student Aid at www.studentaid.ed.gov. This guide covers a range of topics, from preparing for college to repaying student loans.
For help toll-free between the hours of 8 a.m. and midnight Eastern time, call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or 1-800-730-8913 (TTY) for the hearing impaired.
Talk with your high school counselor or contact the financial aid office at your college or career school.
"FAFSA can be filled out and sent in by mail, but it is much easier and faster to fill out the online application." said Mr. Sorensen.