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How to Fill out a FAFSA Application

Follow these steps to fill out a FAFSA to help you get the funds you need to get that priceless knowledge.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Apply for a PIN Apply for a PIN by visiting pin.ed.gov. Your PIN is a number that allows you to apply for aid online and to access all of your student financial aid records online.
  • TIP: Keep your PIN in a safe place and do not share it with anyone. Allowing others access to your PIN may allow them access confidential information about you.
  • Step 2: Determine status Determine your dependency status by filling out the Dependency Status Worksheet found online at fafsa.ed.gov. This will help you determine whether you need to provide information about your parents' income.
  • Step 3: Gather documents Gather your Social Security number, driver's license, W-2 forms, federal income tax return, your parents' federal income tax return if applicable, untaxed income records, and bank statements.
  • Step 4: Find school codes Find the federal school code for the colleges and universities you are applying to at fafsa.ed.gov.
  • Step 5: Fill out the FAFSA Fill out the FAFSA online by going to fafsa.ed.gov and clicking on Fill Out Your FAFSA and then selecting the year you want aid for.
  • TIP: You can also fill out a paper copy of the FAFSA. Call 1-800-4-FED-AID to get the application. However, most financial aid administrators prefer you use the online method.
  • Step 6: Follow instructions Follow the instructions as you go through the questions. If you need a break, you can save your form and log in again later to finish. Once you've answered all of the questions, electronically sign the form and submit it.
  • Step 7: Wait for the SAR Wait for your student aid report, or SAR. This report will summarize your information and give you an expected family contribution amount. The SAR should be available within seven to 10 days. Once you've received it, contact your college's financial aid department and begin your road to educational success.
  • FACT: In 2010, the U.S. Department of Education raised the maximum Pell Grant award from $4,731 to $5,350.

You Will Need

  • Electronic PIN
  • Social Security number
  • Driver's license
  • W-2 Forms
  • Income tax returns
  • Untaxed income records
  • Bank statements
  • Paper application (optional)

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