The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) allows students to apply for federally-funded and backed educational grants and loans to help pay for college. The FAFSA form is then submitted to colleges and other educational institutions of your choice, and may used to qualify you for additional financial aid at that particular institution. There is no cost to submit a FAFSA, and the form may be completed and mailed in or submitted online.
Gather necessary income information, such as taxes or pay stubs, look up school codes and apply for a PIN number before you begin to fill out your FAFSA online. The online application will ask information pertaining to your and your parents' finances and tax information. You must also know if your parents claimed you as a dependent on their taxes. This affects your dependency status, which affects whether aid is granted based on your income or that of your parents (or guardians). You will be required to enter in a code for each school that you have applied to or plan to apply to. These schools will receive your FAFSA Student Aid Report.
Go to FAFSA's website and chose "Fill Out Your FAFSA" on the homepage. You will be redirected to the online application which requires you to complete information about yourself, such as your finances any government assistance you may be receiving, your current educational level (e.g., high school graduate or college sophomore), and the school codes for the institutions that you want to receive your FAFSA information. You can look up school codes on FAFSA's website. Information about your parents' may not be required if you are determined to be financially independent.
Submit your completed FAFSA online. Before the application may be processed, you must sign it with your PIN. If you requested the PIN be sent to your by email or displayed online in the PIN Confirmation page, you will receive the information within seconds. Those that requested their PIN be mailed to them will have to wait up to a week before they receive their PIN and can sign their FAFSA online.
Si Kingston has been an online content contributor since 2004, with work appearing on websites such as MadeMan. She is a professional screenwriter and young-adult novelist and was awarded the Marion-Hood Boesworth Award for Young Fiction in 2008. Kingston holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College.