Completing the FAFSA

Completing the FAFSA is as easy as 1, 2, 3… 4, 5!

  1. Gather Materials – You’ll need your social security card, current bank statements and, if you’re a dependent student, your parent(s)’ information. For the 2019-2020 FAFSA, you’ll also need your 2017 W2s and tax returns.
  2. Create an FSA ID – This username and password is used to electronically sign your FAFSA and other important financial aid paperwork. Visit to sign up.
  3. Fill It Out – The FAFSA is available at after October 1 each year. Check out the “Tool Tips” question mark box beside each field for assistance with each question.
  4. Sign & Submit – Enter your FSA ID to serve as your electronic signature. Don’t forget to click submit at the bottom of the screen.
  5. Follow Up – Watch your email for a Student Aid Report (SAR) and information from the schools who’ve received your FAFSA results. Be sure to follow up with the financial aid office at your school if you have additional questions.

For more details, check out the Finish the FAFSA in Five Steps guide or watch the Finish the FAFSA in Five videos on our YouTube page, available in both English and Spanish.

The FAFSA is Always FREE

NEVER pay to complete the FAFSA; the FAFSA is always free. As a matter of fact, that’s what the first F stands for: Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

If you plan to submit the form online, be sure to file at, and avoid sites that offer to complete and submit your FAFSA for a hefty fee.

Also, be on the lookout for companies that claim they’ll help you with your FAFSA. These companies will often charge you for assistance that you could get for free elsewhere. If you are looking for help with the FAFSA, visit our FAQs page or our resources page to find helpful tips through the process. You can also visit to find more assistance.

FAFSA Completion Chart

Everyone Should Apply!

With a new mobile app and a redesigned website, completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has never been faster or easier. However, there’s one mistake students and their parents often make: not completing the FAFSA at all!

Each year, many families don’t complete the FAFSA because they think they make too much money to qualify for aid. Counting yourself out before even starting is a huge mistake! Even if you think you won’t qualify for aid, you should still submit the FAFSA anyway.
Here’s why:

  • You could be missing out. Billions of financial aid dollars are offered every year. Those funds will be awarded to someone… and that “someone” could be you. But you’ll never know if you don’t apply!
  • Your school might use the data for other financial aid. Some schools use the data on your FAFSA to award school-specific grants and scholarships. So, in addition to missing out on federal funding, you could take yourself out of the running for school aid by choosing not to submit the FAFSA.
  • Federal student loans offer options. Even if you’re positive you’ll only qualify for student loans and you’re unsure about borrowing money for school, federal loans could be your best option. Federal student loans offer more flexible repayment plans than private or alternative loans. They’re also a better option than high interest credit cards.
  • There’s no obligation. You’re not required to accept the aid offered to you. You’ll have the option to decline any aid offered, or you may choose to limit how much you borrow.

The FAFSA is available on Oct. 1, so apply as soon after as possible at


It won’t be long until it’s time to submit next year’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The 2019-2020 FAFSA will be available October 1, 2018.

Did you know that it’s best to create your Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) before you complete your FAFSA? In fact, you can do it today! The FSA ID is a username and password that you’ll use to sign your completed FAFSA, and it will also allow you to log on to other websites later on. You must only create your own FSA ID; parents of dependent students should not create an ID for their children, and vice versa. Because the FSA ID is your unique electronic signature, you should never share it with anyone else, including a parent or financial aid advisor.

Go to to get started. While creating your FSA ID, be sure to provide an email address that you plan to use permanently—don’t use a business address or one issued by your high school or college. If you choose, you can also list your mobile phone number in order to receive text messages from the Federal Student Aid processing center. It’s important to know that each email address and mobile number can be used for only one FSA ID, so don’t use the same email/phone information that your parent uses.

Ready to create your FSA ID? The process is easy, and there’s a tool that’ll make it even easier! Use the FSA ID worksheet to help you get started, and then keep it in a safe location to refer to later as needed.

We wish you the best of luck on your first step in the federal financial aid process.

FSA ID Worksheet

Get Ready, Get Set, FAFSA!

Oct. 1 is quickly approaching, and we all know what happens then, right? The 2019-2020 Free Application for Federal Student AID (FAFSA) opens! Take these steps now to prepare.

  1. Create your FSA ID. The Federal Student Aid ID is a username and password used to electronically sign your FAFSA and complete other important financial aid paperwork. The student and one parent will each need their own FSA ID. Be sure to keep track of the username and password you create. You’ll use your FSA ID for years to come, so be sure to use a personal email account when creating your FSA ID. You may not always have access to your school issued email account in the future.
  2. Gather your tax information. The 2019-2020 FAFSA will request 2017 tax information. Take the time now to locate 2017 income and tax information for both the student and parent(s). The IRS Data Retrieval Tool will be available for students and parents to transfer tax information directly from the IRS into the FAFSA. However, it will still be important to have your tax documents with you when you complete the FAFSA.
  3. Think about where you’re headed. You’ll have the opportunity to send your FAFSA to up to 10 schools you’re considering attending. Keep in mind you can log back into your FAFSA to add and remove schools if your plans change. Check out org to learn more about schools that would be a good fit for you and your goals.
  4. Ask questions. If you have special circumstances that you believe impact your ability to complete the FAFSA, ask for guidance now! Ask us by clicking on “Email Us Your FAFSA Question!” on the right side of this page. You can also contact your high school counselor or the financial aid office at your college to discuss your situation.

Completing the FAFSA is an important step toward funding your education after high school. Be sure to complete the application as soon as possible after Oct. 1!