FAFSA is the KEY!
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the key
that opens the door to financial aid. It serves as the application for most
of the financial aid from federal and state programs and from colleges and
universities. Even if you are not sure that you will need financial aid,
we recommend that you fill out a FAFSA
anyway -- it's free.
You should submit the FAFSA as soon after January
1 as possible, making sure you meet any college or state deadlines. The quickest
and most accurate way to file the FAFSA
is online. In contrast to a paper copy, the online form displays only the
data entry fields you need to complete. You also receive directions as you
need them. The FAFSA site is also available in Spanish.
complete the FAFSA you will need an FSA ID, a username and password that enables you to log
in to some Department of Education websites.
If you have filed your
taxes before completing the FAFSA, you can save time by using the IRS Date
Retrieval Tool (IRS DTR). This will also ensure your FAFSA tax information
is accurate -- you won't have to worry about making mistakes since the IRS
DTR transfers your tax information for you.
The IRS DTR will take
you to the IRS website, where you can preview your tax information before
agreeing to transfer it to the FAFSA. You can read more about this process
and find out when your tax information will be available through the IRS DTR here.
If you prefer to fill out a paper copy of the
FAFSA, you can obtain one by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center
The FAFSA may not be the only form required to
receive an award letter from a school. You must also complete the college
admissions process. Check with each of the colleges and universities you listed
on your FAFSA to determine their requirements.
If you filed your FAFSA
electronically, you will receive an electronic Student Aid Report (SAR) within
a few days of submitting your completed FAFSA. (SAR results may take three
weeks if you filed a paper FAFSA.) The SAR is the result of your FAFSA. Read
it immediately and follow any directions. The schools you list on the FAFSA
will also receive results.