Creating an FSA ID
It is strongly recommended that you create an FSA ID, a username and password combination that allows you to sign your FAFSA® form electronically. Your FSA ID also can be used to sign loan contracts and to access certain information online. You can get your FSA ID as you fill out the FAFSA form, but you also have the option to get it ahead of time—and it cuts down on errors and delays if you start your FAFSA form by providing your FSA ID on fafsa.gov. Find out how to get an FSA ID and what to do if you forgot your FSA ID.
Gathering the Documents Needed to Apply
The FAFSA questions ask for information about you (your name, date of birth, address, etc.) and about your financial situation. Depending on your circumstances (for instance, whether you’re a U.S. citizen or what tax form you used), you might need the following information or documents as you fill out the application:
- Your Social Security number (it’s important that you enter it correctly on the FAFSA form!)
- Your parents’ Social Security numbers if you are a dependent student
- Your driver’s license number if you have one
- Your Alien Registration number if you are not a U.S. citizen
- Federal tax information or tax returns including IRS W-2 information, for you (and your spouse, if you are married), and for your parents if you are a dependent student
- Records of your untaxed income, such as child support received, interest income, and veterans noneducation benefits, for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student
- Information on cash; savings and checking account balances; investments, including stocks and bonds and real estate but not including the home in which you live; and business and farm assets for you, and for your parents if you are a dependent student
If you need help filling out the FAFSA form, use these free tools:
- Read the “Help and Hints” located on the right side of any FAFSA entry page. (The hints change depending on what question you’re on.)
- Click “Need Help?” at the bottom of any FAFSA entry page (in other words, any page where you’re entering information into the application). Note: Clicking “Need Help?” doesn’t close the page you’re working on, so you don’t have to worry about losing your place in the application.
- Chat (in English or Spanish) with live technical support staff by clicking the “Help” icon with the big question mark at the top of any FAFSA entry page, and then selecting “Contact Us,” “Federal Student Aid Information Center,” and then “Chat With Us.” (Note: The “Chat With Us” option isn’t visible outside of business hours, which are listed on the Federal Student Aid Information Center contact page.)
- Contact the Financial Aid Office at the college or career school you plan to attend.
Starting Your FAFSA® Form and Providing Your Basic Personal Information
The FAFSA form is available on Oct. 1 for the next school year. We encourage you to fill it out as soon as possible on or after Oct. 1 to meet FAFSA deadlines.
- If you are starting the application for the first time, go to fafsa.gov and click on “Start A New FAFSA.”
- If you filled out a FAFSA form last year and want to renew it, click “Login” on the home page, and be sure to select “FAFSA Renewal” once given the option. That way, many of the (nonfinancial) questions will be pre-filled for you. Just be sure to update any information that has changed since last year.