This article explains how to complete the Free Application for
Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you have additional questions about
how to complete an electronic or paper FAFSA application after you
review this article, you can call the Federal Student Aid Information
Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243). You can also
find many of your questions answered at www.studentaid.ed.gov.
You can complete a FAFSA in the following ways:
Throughout this article, the term "FAFSA" refers to both the online
and paper version unless otherwise specified.
Applying online may be faster for the following reasons:
· FAFSA Online has built-in help to guide you through the application
· The schools you list on your application will receive your processed
FAFSA Online Filers: Here's Some Information You
Need To Know About PIN Numbers:
The PIN is an electronic access code number that serves as an identifier,
and works much like the personal identification number you get from
your bank. Either a student or parent can obtain a PIN.
Your PIN is used by FAFSA Online filers in the following
ways: to apply on either an original or a Renewal FAFSA, or to sign
your FAFSA. A parent of a dependent student can also use a PIN to
sign the application. You don't need a PIN to complete an original
application, but you will need one for a Renewal FAFSA, and
to sign either an original or Renewal FAFSA. See the section If
You Submitted a FAFSA Application in the Previous Year below
for further information on the Renewal FAFSA.
As previously stated, FAFSA Online applicants don't need to have
a PIN to apply. Without a PIN, you would simply print out and sign
a signature page. However, using a PIN is recommended, as it will
result in a faster processing turnaround. (You can obtain a PIN
before you begin the application process by applying at www.pin.ed.gov.)
If you apply without a PIN, but provide your e-mail address on
your FAFSA Online application, you will receive an e-mail with a
link to a web page where you can obtain your PIN. If you do not
provide your e-mail address, you will receive your PIN number in
If you have any questions about the PIN process, you should either
visit the PIN web site at www.pin.ed.gov
or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID
If You Submitted a FAFSA Application in the Previous Year:
If you applied for financial aid in the previous year, you might
not have to complete an entire FAFSA for the current year. Instead,
you might be able to use a Renewal FAFSA, which is available both
on the web at www.fafsa.ed.gov
and on paper. The Renewal FAFSA is pre-filled with data that hasn't
changed from the previous year (such as the demographic information).
Financial information that changes from year to year (AGI, taxes
paid, asset information, etc.) will need to be added. The following
types of renewal applicants will automatically receive PINs:
- Graduate students and fifth-year undergraduates
- Students who filed using FAFSA Online in the previous year
- Students whose schools request that PINs be sent instead of
paper Renewal FAFSAs.
Students who meet the above three requirements and who provide
a valid e-mail address will receive an e-mail that will provide
a link to their PIN. If they did not provide an e-mail address or
the address they provided was invalid, they will receive a PIN number
in the mail.