Welcome to the Financial Aid Finder’s online FAFSA workshop. The FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which is your key to the treasure chest of federal (and even some state) financial aid for college.
If you want to qualify for federal student loans, federal grants (that’s free money, people!) or federal work-study programs, you must fill out the FAFSA. Every college has its own deadline, so check with your school’s financial aid office immediately.
In the meantime, you can start working your way through our five-part workshop on completing the FAFSA and maximizing your student aid award. Here’s a schedule of topics:
- Checklist of essential documentation
- What’s a PIN and how do you get one?
- FAFSA Blunders
- What’s your FAFSA deadline?
- FAFSA FAQs (if you have a FAFSA question, leave it in our comments section and I’ll be sure to respond in the FAQs post!)
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.
FAFSA® Filing Options
You may choose any of these methods to file a FAFSA form:
- Log in at fafsa.gov to apply online or
- Fill out the form in the myStudentAid mobile app, available on the App Store (iOS) or Google Play(Android) or
- Complete a 2020–21 FAFSA PDF or a 2019–20 FAFSA PDF (note: you must print out and mail the FAFSA PDF for processing) or
- Request a print-out of the FAFSA PDF by calling us at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or 334-523-2691 (TTY for the deaf or hard of hearing 1-800-730-8913); then fill out the form and mail it for processing
Here are the essential documentation you need to complete your FAFSA. Don’t even bother trying to fill out your FAFSA if you don’t have every piece of paper on this checklist in one central location, okay?
Also, please note that you do NOT send the federal government all these documents. You use them to complete the FAFSA, which is the only document you submit to the federal government! See the options on how to submit your FAFSA above.
- Your FSA ID (An FSA ID is a username and password that you can use to log in to certain U.S. Department of Education (ED) websites. Each student, and one parent of each dependent student, will need an FSA ID to complete the FAFSA process on fafsa.gov. We recommend creating your FSA ID early—even before you’re ready to complete the FAFSA form—to avoid delays in the process.) Create your FSA ID here.
- Your Social Security Card
- Your driver’s license (if you have one)
- Your W-2 Forms
- Any other records of money earned
- Your Federal Income Tax Return — either the IRS 1040, 1040A, 1040 EZ; the Foreign Tax Return; or the Tax Return for Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Federal States of Micronesia, or Palau
- Your spouses’ Federal Income Tax Return (if you are married)
- Your parents’ Federal Income Tax Return (if they still claim you as a dependent)
- Your untaxed income records, including veterans’ benefits, child support and/or worker’s compensation
- Your most recent bank statement
- Your records of current investments, such as mortgage information, business or farm records, and/or records of stocks, bonds, or mutual fund. This includes retirement fund, as well as educational savings, such as the Coverdell ESA or a 529 Savings Plan in your name, whether it is held by you or your parents
- Your alien registration or permanent resident card (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
- List of the school(s) you are interested in attending (Be sure to add any college you’re considering, even if you haven’t applied or been accepted yet.)
You can complete your FAFSA on paper or on-line, but my recommendation is to do it on-line. You will save a lot of time and your application will be processed faster.