filing the fafsa online

Posted : January 3, 2005
Last Updated : December 22, 2014

filing the fafsa online

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) must be completed by students applying for federal student aid. The FAFSA is also used by many states and colleges to determine a student's aid eligibility. It can be completed online at as soon as possible after January 1st of the year for which you are requesting aid. It is crucial to submit the FAFSA in a timely manner, so you can meet deadlines for school, state, and private aid. Many of these deadlines are in early February. Filing the FAFSA online will help you meet the deadlines because FAFSA on the Web saves you processing time and increases the accuracy of your application.

The FAFSA on the Web site will guide you through all phases of the application process. After you log in using your name, Social Security number, and date of birth, FAFSA on the Web determines where to direct you based on your application status and what you need to do next. Dynamic messages will guide you on the correct path that is determined by your login infomation and available processing results.

Benefits of Completing the FAFSA on the Web

  • Electronic filing can be as much as 7 to 14 days faster than submitting the paper version. Hint: Be sure to submit the FAFSA for free at Some websites with similar names will charge a fee to submit your application. 
  • Online help is available for each question.
  • FAFSA on the Web has an automatic edit check that finds errors on your application and prompts you to fix them.
  • Calculations are performed automatically.
  • After you complete the FAFSA online, you will get a confirmation number that proves you submitted the application.
  • If you submit the FAFSA online, you can easily check the status of your submitted FAFSA, view or print processed results, correct FAFSA information, print signature pages, or review and update correction history.

What to Know When Completing the FAFSA on the Web

  • You will need a PIN number. PIN numbers are required to sign the online application. If you forgot, do not have, or wish to change your PIN number, go to
  • One parent should also register for a PIN number. This is for students who are required to submit parental information. The parent can use the same PIN number for his electronic signature each year and for each child. Your parent can register for a PIN number at
  • If either you or your parent do not have a PIN to sign the online application, the electronic results of the FAFSA will not be valid. You would have to print and mail a signature page with your signature and your parent's signature as soon as you electronically submit your data. The signature page will provide a mailing address. If the signature page is not received within two weeks, you will be sent a Student Aid Report (SAR) that will need to be signed and mailed back to the federal processor.
  • If you filed a FAFSA last year, you can complete the online Renewal FAFSA. After you log in to FAFSA on the Web, a FAFSA Renewal button will display if you submitted a previous year FAFSA and are eligible to file a FAFSA Renewal. A FAFSA Renewal application has some of the information pre-filled from the previous year FAFSA you submitted. You will still have to provide financial information and your school codes.

If you are having trouble filling out the FAFSA, please contact someone in a college financial aid office or the U.S. Department of Education at 1-800-4-FED-AID.

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