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What is FAFSA?

The first step in receiving federal financial aid is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as it is available. Federal student aid includes grants, work-study opportunities and student loans. If you are a high school senior, you'll need to submit the form when it becomes available on October 1, 2021, to find out what federal and state financial aid options are available to you.

Be sure to complete a FAFSA form even if you think you won't qualify for federal aid. Some schools won't consider you for merit scholarships until you've submitted a FAFSA.

Preparing to fill out FAFSA

The FAFSA process is easiest when you have a username and password called a FSA ID. Both you and a parent or guardian will need to create one and be prepared to provide information about finances. Before you sit down to complete your FAFSA, you'll want to have these things handy:

  • Social Security Number
  • Federal tax information or tax returns
  • Records of untaxed income
  • Cash, savings and checking account balances; investments other than the home in which you live

If you don't have this information, don't worry! You can save your application and come back to it later.

Learn more about the process of filling out FAFSA

Learn how FAFSA can help you prepare for college in our latest blog. We've heard from the experts in college preparedness who can help break down the mystery of filling out your FAFSA. 


  • Each state and school has its own FAFSA deadline. Check a college's or career school's deadline on its website or by calling its financial aid office. Most deadlines can be found here.
  • After you submit your FAFSA, your information will be sent to the colleges or career schools you listed on the form. You'll receive an e-mail within a few days, letting you know your FAFSA was processed. Your college or career school might request additional information from you - make sure you respond by any additional deadlines!

Additional FAFSA Resources

The FAFSA is designed to be simple to fill out and is the key to securing the grants, loans and work-study funds each year to help pay for college or career school. Most people finish filling out the FAFSA in less than half an hour! But if you need help or more information, here are some great places to find it:

Questions? Call the Student Hotline.