Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- Apply for financial aid even if you're not sure you're eligible.
- Colleges use the FAFSA for their own scholarships, as well as Federal and State aid.
- Never pay for a scholarship search. Information about financial aid should always be FREE!
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an integral part of your application for college. What ever college you choose to attend, the FAFSA will help you make choices about how to fund your education.
The most important reason to fill out the FAFSA is to learn what federal student aid programs you might be eligible for.
Even if you don't think you will qualify for federal financial aid, you should fill out the FAFSA. The information from the FAFSA is used by the college of your choice to determine what kinds of scholarships, grants, or other financial aid they will offer you.
The official US government website is http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. Do not go to an alternative site, no matter how official it looks. Don't ever pay for financial aid information.
Also see the guide to Federal Student Aid program.
Get a head start
- Learn more about the FAFSA, applying for student aid, and begin to estimate how much and what kind of federal aid you might qualify for.
- Apply for a pin number early in your junior year if you want to apply online for aid. It's important to do this quickly, as the process often gets clogged and slow at the last minute.
- Build a budget for college.
- Visit the FAFSA4Caster website to get a sense of the federal aid you might be eligible for.
The FAFSA for the current year should not be submitted before January 1, though some early action or early admission programs require the FAFSA earlier. You can estimate your income to file before your parents' income tax is filed. Once your parents have filed their taxes, go back and fill in the accurate figures. Contact the Financial Aid office at the college for more information.
The FAFSA should be submitted before February 1.
Here are some Financial Aid deadlines to consider.