Colleges in the U.S. require students who want to apply for a number of scholarships, grants and loans to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to the U.S. Department of Education. You can file the application, known as FAFSA, online or by mail. Electronic filers use the FAFSA website to complete FAFSA forms, upload documents and to retrieve electronic copies of previously completed applications. To access a previous FAFSA, you first must use the sign-in information you used to register at a different Department of Education website: Federal Student Aid. With this ID, you can complete forms at the FAFSA Student Loan and Student Aid websites.

FAFSA Online Access Registration

To create an account and get an ID on the Federal Student Aid website, you must provide a personal email address. Student Aid users cannot share email addresses. If you are a dependent student, one of your parents must register and create a separate FSA ID, using a different email address. To register, you need to provide your full legal name, birthdate and Social Security number. Then, you can choose your FSA username and assign a password to your account. Allow one to three days for Student Aid to receive verification from the Social Security Administration of the information that you and your parents submitted when registering for your FSA identification numbers.

Access and View FAFSA

When Federal Student Aid sends you confirmation of your completed registration, you can log in to the FAFSA website with your new FSA ID to complete your application. Write down your username and password in a safe place where can find it again because you'll need it to view the FAFSA later, make changes and reapply next year. When you click the Login button on the FAFSA website, you will see the option for signing in to see a previous FAFSA or renewing your FAFSA application for the upcoming academic school year. The Renewal FAFSA saves time because all your personal data and income information from last year is pushed into the new application once your login. All you have to do is make edits and updates.

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Access FAFSA Parent Login Page

Students access their applications by submitting their own FSA ID on the left side of the pop-up Login page but parents do not. Parents must click the radio button next to the "Fill in Student Information" option on the right side of the Login page. Parents then enter their child’s full name, Social Security information and date of birth to start the login process. Once this information page is finished, parents can proceed to the page that allows them to enter their personal FSA ID. After they log in, parents can view, print or download previous FAFSA data on the Parent Financial Information page.

Transfer IRS Tax Information

Eligible applicants can conveniently choose to transfer their most recent IRS tax return information directly into their Renewal FAFSA, which reduces mistakes in reporting income and losses. You will see an explanation of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool as you are reviewing the form and making any needed corrections. If you would like to take advantage of this feature, click on "Link to IRS." Not only do you save time, but you are less likely to be contacted by your school's financial aid office with a request for additional financial documentation.

About the Author

Carol Luther has more than 25 years of business, technology, and freelance writing experience. She has held leadership roles in higher education management, international development, adult education, vocational education, and small business support programs