Each award year’s new FAFSA becomes available for completion on the first of January.
Although your taxes will not yet be complete at that time, the FAFSA can be completed with estimated information. Since some financial aid benefits are only available for a limited time and may run out, it is a good idea to complete the application as soon as it becomes available for maximum possible benefits. Once you have your tax forms completed, you can return to the FAFSA website and link to the IRS at that time. It will likely take a couple of weeks from the time your taxes are processed until you are able to link, so keep that in mind.
The FAFSA can be completed before you know what institution you will be attending.
Students can include multiple institutions on their application. You can continue to add or remove schools as needed. Just remember that if the school code is listed on your FAFSA, the institution will be receiving your information, so you will likely only want to include institutions that you are seriously considering.
The FAFSA is FREE…notice that the acronym stands for "FREE Application for Federal Student Aid."
There are websites such as www.fafsa.com that charge $79.99 for advisory services. The charge is for preparing the application, not an application charge.