The FAFSA is a lengthy form, and can be a daunting one – especially for those who are applying for financial aid for the first time.
Be prepared for the hassle but don’t let it deter you from submitting your FAFSA and getting the aid for which you qualify.
To submit your FAFSA, you have three (3) options: online, PDF and paper.
- Online at www.fafsa.ed.gov
- PDF FAFSA
- Paper FAFSA
If you don’t have Internet access, you can request a paper FAFSA by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or 1-319-337-5665.
FAFSA on the Web
The best option is to complete the online version of the FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov, known as FAFSA on the Web. It includes step-by-step instructions for completing the online FAFSA as well as preapplication worksheets.
FAFSA on the Web offers several benefits1, including:
- Filing the FAFSA online can help reduce processing time by one to two weeks.
- You will get your Student Aid Report (SAR) sooner than with the paper or PDF forms.
- Your FAFSA will be more accurate, since the FAFSA on the Web has built-in edit checks to catch simple errors.
- Automatic retrieval of your tax information straight from IRS.gov to the FAFSA application using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
- The online FAFSA allows you to list up to ten colleges, while the paper FAFSA has space only for four colleges.
January 1 is the first day you can submit your FAFSA. But it’s always in your best interest to file as close to this date as possible; college, state and private aid deadlines may be much earlier than federal deadlines. Here’s a list of documents you need to get started.
For more detailed instructions on how to complete the online or paper version of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), go here.