FAFSA Application Process and Required Documents

How to Fill Out the FAFSA Form

The first step to receiving federal student aid to assist with paying for your college or career school is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Follow these eight easy steps to set yourself up for success and complete the form on time.


Create a FAFSA ID:

  • Student: Your account username and password are an FAFSA ID. To electronically sign the FAFSA form, you need it. You can create an FAFSA ID online for chores involving federal student aid if you don’t already have one. Making an FAFSA ID takes roughly 10 minutes.
  • Parent: To electronically sign your child’s FAFSA form, create your FAFSA ID. You may use your FAFSA ID as a parent right immediately.
  • When the student and parent confuse their FAFSA IDs, it can lead to some of the most frequent FAFSA mistakes. Each parent and each student must create their own FSA IDs and keep them private, even from one another, if they don’t want your financial assistance delayed.

Start the FAFSA form at fafsa.gov.

The FAFSA form for 2023–24 went live on October 1! You should submit the FAFSA as soon as possible, even if your state and school deadlines aren’t for a while. Some states and institutions have a limited supply of financial help and run out of money quickly. Thus, don’t put off applying until the last minute!

  • Choose “I am a student and wish to access the FAFSA form” if it describes your situation. After that, sign in using your FSA ID.
  • Choose “I am a parent filling out a FAFSA form for a student” if you are the parent. After choosing the parent position, you must provide your child’s name, date of birth, and Social Security number.
  • If you want to enrol in college between July 1, 2022, and June 30, 2023, you must submit a 2022–23 FAFSA form.
  • If you want to enrol in college between July 1, 2023, and June 30, 2024, you must submit the FAFSA for 2023–24.
  • Both: Do so first if you haven’t finished your 2022–23 FAFSA form but will be enrolled in college throughout those periods. Then, after one to three days, as the formation processes, do the 2023–24 FAFSA form.

Create a save key: Unlike the FSA ID, the save key can be shared. You and your parent(s) can “pass” the FAFSA form back and forth using a save key, a temporary password. You may also save the FAFSA form and come back to it later. The key is beneficial when you and your parents are in a different location.

  • The Student Demographics section must be completed:

Your name, birth date and other details are listed in the Student Demographics section. If you have already submitted your FAFSA form or logged in with your FSA ID, most of your data will be filled out to save time. Input your data precisely as it appears on your Social Security card. No nicknames, you heard correctly.

Please remember that the FAFSA form is the student’s application, not your parents. When “you” or “your” is used on the FAFSA form, it refers to the student (unless otherwise noted). Pay attention to whether information on a student or a parent is requested.

  • Specify the colleges that will get your FAFSA information:

Add any school you’re considering to the School Selection area, even if you have yet to apply or receive a letter of acceptance. Adding extra schools to your application won’t harm it. The other schools are invisible to school officials.

If you decide not to apply or attend later, you don’t need to delete colleges from your list. The school may ignore your FAFSA paperwork if you don’t use it or are admitted to a program. To make way for new schools, you may delete existing ones at any moment.

Ten schools can be added at once. There are several ways to add different colleges to the FAFSA form if you apply to more than ten institutions.

  • Respond to the dependence status inquiries:

You must answer questions in the dependence status section to determine if you are an independent or dependent student. Depending on your responses to these queries, the FAFSA form’s requirement for parent information may apply.

  • The US Congress establishes dependence rules. These differ from the regulations used by the IRS.
  • To receive federal student aid, you can still be regarded as a dependent student even though you live independently, provide for yourself, and file taxes. If you are a dependent student, you must disclose your parent’s details (s).
  • As an independent student, you can move on to the next step without providing information about your parents.
  • The Parent Demographics section must be completed:

Primary demographic data must be provided by your parent(s). If you are a dependent student, remember that even though your parent(s) do not reside with you, you must still submit information about them.


You may read our detailed instructions on submitting your parents’ details as a dependent student and what to do if you cannot do so for whatever reason.

Give details about your finances:

After that, you and your parents (if any) will share financial data. If you utilise the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, this procedure is relatively straightforward (DRT). In just a few clicks, you may import your IRS tax information into the FAFSA form using the IRS DRT. Also, using this service can allow you to send your school less documentation overall. Thus, if you qualify, be sure to utilise it.

Your FAFSA form must be signed and sent in:

Before you (and your parents, if you’re a dependent student) sign the FAFSA form, it isn’t complete. Online using your FSA ID is the quickest and most convenient method to sign your FAFSA form. You won’t need to enter your FSA ID again on this page if you (the student) previously logged in to the FAFSA form with it. But before you can finish submitting the form, your parents must still sign it if you’re a dependent student.

Signing and sending advice:

  • The username and password for the account can be retrieved if you or your parent forget your FAFSA ID.
  • Be careful not to mix up your FAFSA IDs with your parents. Because of this error, everyone must generate their own FAFSA ID and keep it private.
  • Ensure the parent selects the appropriate parent when signing the FAFSA form using their FAFSA ID.
  • If you receive a message stating that the information on your FSA ID does not match the information on the FAFSA form, follow these instructions.
  • If you have siblings, your parents can sign the FAFSA paperwork for each kid using the same FSA ID. By selecting the option on the FAFSA confirmation screen, your parents can also add their information to your sibling’s application.
  • Signing your FAFSA form is the quickest approach to submitting it with an FSA ID. Therefore, we advise doing this. But you can mail a signature page if you and your parent need to electronically sign the FAFSA form with an FSA ID. Choose “Choices to sign and submit” from the “Sign and Submit” tab, then “Print a Signature Page.” Please remember that if you choose this approach, processing your FAFSA form will take longer.

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