The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the jumping off point for every college student in the United States. It’s a form that assesses your and/or your family’s financial picture to determine what type of student aid you qualify for.

How to Apply
There are two ways to fill out a FAFSA: the traditional paper form and online. While both get the job done, the online version has a couple of advantages: You get a response within just a few days, compared to several weeks with the hard copy, and the online option provides resources like the “Completing the FAFSA” link to help you through the process.

Make it easier on yourself by gathering all of the materials necessary before you begin filling out the FAFSA. You can become familiar with the necessary documents via a checklist provided on the FAFSA website. Other tools to assist you in filling out the FAFSA:
• A worksheet that allows you to do a “dry run” of the form before you tackle the actual FAFSA