The Definitive FAFSA® Guide for Everyone

All the info you need to get the financial aid package you want.

What is FAFSA®?

FAFSA® is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Colleges and educational programs use this info to grant financial aid. By filling out the FAFSA® each year you gain eligibility for grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs that are not available otherwise.

FAFSA® Deadlines

A new FAFSA® year opens each year on October 1st and closes two years later on June 30th. For example, the 2021-2022 academic year opened October 1st, 2020, and closes June 30th, 2021.

FAFSA® deadlines can change depending on your state and school. Learn more about deadlines here.

 

How to File FAFSA®?

FAFSA® doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Choose the form that works for you.

Rapid filing with Frank
File in under 7 minutes with Frank. Our simplified form only asks the questions that matter to your situation and our financial aid experts help you through the process.

FSA online form
File with the Federal Student Aid (FSA) at FAFSA.ed.gov. The FSA form has 108 questions and takes an average of 45-55 minutes to finish.

FSA paper form
The paper FAFSA® form is available for students unable to file online. However, it’s crucial to note that it has a longer processing time.

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What is your dependency status?

Learn more about what dependency status means here.

What does dependency status mean on FAFSA®?

Frank Answers your toughest financial aid questions in 60 seconds or less.

Who’s considered your parent on the FAFSA®?

Learn more about parents and household size here.

Who Counts as my Parent & What is my Household Size?

Frank Answers your toughest financial aid questions in 60 seconds or less.

Gathering the correct information

The FAFSA® requires some basic information to confirm who you are. Here are basic facts and documents you’ll need to locate:

Independent Filers

  • Name and date of birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Address and contact info
  • Marital status, marriage or separation dates

Dependent Filers

  • Names and birthdates for you and your parents
  • Social Security Numbers for you and your parents
  • Marital status and marriage or separation dates
  • Number of children or dependents in your househol

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Adding Schools & Signing With Your FSA ID

Which school(s) should get your FAFSA® information?
The FSA will need to know what schools you’re interested in attending so they can send over your FAFSA® info.

Signing your online FAFSA® with the FSA ID
How to create your FSA ID

Get step by step guidance on creating your FSA ID and check out the video below.

A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your FSA ID

Having trouble creating your FSA ID so you can sign your FAFSA®? No problem! We walk you through the process…

Next steps after submitting your FAFSA®

Congratulations, you’ve successfully signed and submitted your FAFSA®! Here’s what comes next:

01 Get your Student Aid Report
You will receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) within two weeks of signing your FAFSA®.

02 Financial aid award letters
The school(s) you include in your FAFSA® application will send you a financial aid award package. You can read more about how to compare offers and read your award letter here

The FRANK Guide to Aid Appeal

Need help getting more financial aid for college? Consider filing an aid appeal by following these simple steps.

03 Accept or appeal your aid offers
Not happy with your financial aid award? Appeal it.

The FRANK Guide to Aid Appeal

Need help getting more financial aid for college? Consider filing an aid appeal by following these simple steps.

See why 4.25 million students choose Frank.
Complete your FAFSA® application.

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We are not affiliated with the U.S. Department of Education. Federal Student Aid (FSA), an office of the U.S. Department of Education, makes the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form and assistance available to the public for free at fafsa.gov.

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