We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. But we may receive compensation when you click links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners.
Your guide to the FAFSA
Find answers to all of the questions you have about applying for federal student aid.
What is the FAFSA?
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form you need to fill out to receive financial aid from the federal government, including grants, work-study and student loans. Some schools also require you to complete it to be considered for institutional aid like scholarships and grants as well.
The Department of Education recommends you submit the FAFSA as soon as you can each year, since many schools offer aid on a first-come, first-served basis.
What do you want to learn about first?
Maximize your federal aid before looking to private loans. Read more…
Undergraduates apply for more federal aid than any other group — but more might be eligible. Read more…
Find out how much money your family might have to fork over to pay for school. Read more…
The earlier you get your application in, the better. Read more…
Get your application in by June 30, 2021 so you don't miss out on federal aid. Read more…
Find out what information you'll need before sitting down to complete the form. Read more…
A step-by-step guide with pictures for filling out your federal student aid application. Read more…
How can I get help filling out the FAFSA?
If you bump into questions while filling out the FAFSA, you can reach out to a Federal Student Aid (FSA) representative a few different ways:
- FSA helpline. Call 800-433-3243 to speak to a representative over the phone.
- Online live-chat feature. Chat with a representative on the FSA website.
- Email form. Submit an email form for general questions on the FSA website.
Representatives are available weekdays from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET and weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.
Read more on this topic
Best student loan refinancing offers for bad credit Keep in mind you'll likely need a cosigner to qualify.
For-profit vs. nonprofit colleges: How do they compare? We break down costs, accreditation and campus life to help you decide which is right for you.
How to handle student loan debt if you're a stay-at-home parent Share the responsibility with your spouse, reduce repayments — or both.
How much does it cost to take the ACT? You could pay as little as $52 if you play your cards right — or as much as $250 if you don't.
How to combine your student loan debt with your spouse's Explore your two main options to share the responsibility and potentially get a better deal.
What exactly is a for-profit college? Find out what happens when a corporation and university join forces.
Best dental school loan forgiveness options Pay off anywhere from $20K to your full balance, depending on the program.
10 top scholarships for community service Committed to volunteering? These awards honor your effort.
How to tell a for-profit college is a scam High upfront fees, job guarantees and more red flags to watch out for.
Should parents pay for college? Is the lesson of financial responsibility worth the debt?