Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) is the first step toward getting federal aid for college, career school, or graduate school.

We provide more than $150 billion in grants, work-study funds, and loans each year, but you have to complete the FAFSA to see if you can get any of that money.

FAFSA: Applying for Aid

To apply for federal student aid, you need to complete the FAFSA® (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

If you’re ready to fill out the FAFSA now, go for it!
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If you’d like more information first, we can help.

Completing and submitting the FAFSA is free and quick, and it gives you access to the largest source of financial aid to pay for college or career school.

In addition, many states and colleges use your FAFSA data to determine your eligibility for state and school aid, and some private financial aid providers may use your FAFSA information to determine whether you qualify for their aid.

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Why should I fill out the FAFSA?
When do I fill out the FAFSA?
Can I get an early estimate of my aid?
How do I fill out the FAFSA?
What happens after I fill out the FAFSA?

Why should I fill out the FAFSA?

If you don’t fill out the FAFSA, you could be missing out on a lot of financial aid! We’ve heard a number of reasons students think they shouldn’t complete the FAFSA. Here are a few:

  • “I (or my parents) make too much money, so I won’t qualify for aid.”
  • “Only students with good grades get financial aid.”
  • “The FAFSA is too hard to fill out.”
  • “I’m too old to qualify for financial aid.”

If you think any of these statements apply to you, then you should read “Myths About Financial Aid.” The reality is, EVERYONE who's getting ready to go to college or career school should fill out the FAFSA!  


When do I fill out the FAFSA?

The 2015–16 FAFSA has been available since Jan. 1, 2015, and the 2016–17 FAFSA launched on Jan. 1, 2016. The 2017–18 FAFSA will launch on Oct. 1, 2016.

There are different FAFSA deadlines for different programs: