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How to Fill Out the FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA,

is the application for grants, loans, and work-study funds

provided by the federal government.

It is also used by many states and schools for their

financial aid programs.

For the fastest and easiest way to apply,

visit our official website, fafsa.gov.

The FAFSA is available in English and Spanish.

As you fill it out online you'll be able to automatically skip

questions that don't pertain to you, check out your status

immediately, and get online help.

It takes most people less than 30 minutes to complete

the application. You'll need a few things when you fill it out,

so get ready by gathering your

Social Security number,

your Permanent Resident Card if you have one,

any W-2 forms or records of money you earned for

the previous year, and your tax records.

By the way, a nice time-saving feature of the FAFSA is that

many people are eligible to automatically transfer their

tax data from the IRS into the FAFSA.

So keep an eye out while you're applying,

in case you're offered that option.

If you have any questions about what information to gather,

there is a complete list of documents that you will need

at fafsa.gov.

Before you begin the process of filling out the FAFSA,

you should create a user name and password called an FSA ID

that will act as your electronic signature.

You'll only need to create an FSA ID once; and you can use it

to renew your FAFSA each year that you apply.

Your parents will need an FSA ID too if they have

to provide any information.

So now you're ready to begin filling out the FAFSA

to apply for financial aid.

There are three groups of questions that include

personal information, such as your name, address,

and marital status;

financial information, such as your income;

and any parent information that is required.

If you get hung up or confused about a question,

the "Help and Hints" box on the right-hand side of

the application can help with each question as you move along.

Also, look for the online chat feature under "Help" if you

would like assistance from a knowledgeable agent.

Because colleges and career schools use the FAFSA to provide

financial aid, you can list up to 10 schools that you are

interested in attending.

You should list all of the schools that you are

considering, even if you haven't been accepted or applied yet.

If you have more than 10 schools in mind, you can submit your

FAFSA with 10 schools and then replace some of those schools

with other schools later.

When you finish filling out the FAFSA, use your FSA ID

to sign the form.

If you are required to submit parent information on your

FAFSA, a parent will need to sign the application with his

or her own FSA ID as well.

If you have any questions or need more information,

please visit StudentAid.gov.