The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form is used to apply for various types of federal student aid, including loans, grants and work-study programs. It is used for applications concerning aid for both career school, undergraduate school and graduate school.
It is also worth knowing that many states and colleges use the information you provided on the FAFSA form to determine your eligibility for state aid and school aid, and some private financial aid providers also use FAFSA information.
Please note that this is a FREE Application for Federal Student Aid form. You don’t need to pay to obtain and use the FAFSA form.
Once you have filled out and sent in the FAFSA form, it will be processed and an Expected Family Contribution will be determined.
What’s the deadline for handing in the FAFSA form?
The deadline will vary from one program to another, so it is important that you seek program specific information about the deadlines. The FAFSA form is always made available well before the earliest program deadline.
For federal student aid, the application window is typically very wide. Example: For the 2017-2018 school year, it was possible to apply from October 1, 2016 and June 30, 2018. It is important to consider however, that some of the federal student aid programs have limited funds, and when they have approved enough applications, they will have no more aid to give for that school year even if you fulfill all the criteria for eligibility. It is therefore a good idea to send in your application early.
To find out the application deadline for a specific state, visit https://fafsa.ed.gov/deadlines.htm.
Some states have limited funds for their student aid programs, meaning that you may miss out on aid if enough applications get approved before your application is processed. It is therefore a good idea to send in the application early.
College school deadline
Contact the financial aid office for the specific college to find out about deadlines. Some schools will also publish deadline information on their official website.
Generally speaking, colleges tend to have their deadlines in January, February or March, but there are exceptions.
Career school deadline
Contact the financial aid office for the specific career school to find out about deadlines. Some schools will also publish deadline information on their official website.
Deadlines for private aid programs
Many private aid programs require you to fill out the FAFSA form to apply, but set their own deadlines which can be at any point after the FAFSA form has become available. It is therefore very important that you check with the specific private aid programs that you are interested in.
Do I have to fill out and send in a paper form?
No, you can fill out and send in your FAFSA form online at fafsa.gov.
I prefer to fill out a paper form; how do I obtain one?
You can download the FAFSA form as a PDF from fafsa.ed.gov and print it out yourself.
Or, you can order the paper form and have it sent to your address.
Or, you can visit a financial aid office at a college or career school to pick up the form.