Keep your stress level low and plan ahead. Follow these tips to prepare for the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid):
Set Aside Time
The FAFSA can take some time to prepare for and complete. Make sure you allow enough time in your schedule to complete the FAFSA by your financial aid deadlines.
Know Your Deadlines
Submit your FAFSA as soon as you can after January 1.
Deadlines can vary by school, state, program of study, and more. Find out your various deadlines and complete the FAFSA by the earliest one. Even if you miss a deadline, you should still complete and submit the FAFSA. You may be eligible to receive late awards.
Gather Your Documents
Before you begin the FAFSA, gather the necessary paperwork. Having the right information on hand makes completing the FAFSA easier.
Apply for a Personal Identification Number (PIN)
If you intend to submit your FAFSA online, you need a Federal Student Aid PIN to sign your FAFSA electronically and check the status online. Getting a PIN is easy and takes just minutes. You need to provide only basic personal information—your name, address, phone number, and email address—to request a PIN.
Keep your PIN in a safe place and do not share it with anyone. This number does not change. Each year that you apply for financial aid, you can use your PIN to access and electronically sign your FAFSA.
Use the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet
To make sure you have what you need when you apply/renew, use the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet. The FAFSA on the Web Worksheet includes questions in the same order as they will appear in the online application. It's like getting the test questions before you take the test!
Did You Know?
- Parents must also prepare. If you are a dependent student, a parent must also get a PIN and provide information on the FAFSA. Make sure you give your parents time to prepare.
- Keep your documentation. Be sure to keep all of the documentation that you gather to complete the FAFSA. You may need this later if your application is chosen for verification.