Ways to Pay

Start With the FAFSA

  • You should complete the FAFSA as soon as possible after January 1 of the year you're requesting aid for. Check with the schools you're interested in attending for deadlines. It's important to meet all deadlines.
  • If possible, complete your income taxes (and have your parents complete their income taxes) before you complete the FAFSA. You can estimate your income if you haven't completed your taxes yet.
  • Try to complete the FAFSA online. It's the fastest and easiest way, and reduces errors. If you can't apply online, the FAFSA is available in paper form. Ask your guidance counselor for a paper copy. This FAFSA is available in both English and Spanish.
  • To submit the FAFSA online, you and your parent need to apply for a PIN (Personal Identification Number). The PIN allows you to sign the FAFSA electronically.
  • Have the following items on hand when completing the FAFSA:
    • Income tax return, or estimated tax information
    • W-2 forms and other records of money earned
    • Records of untaxed income (for example, unemployment benefits)
    • Current bank statements
    • Business and farm records
    • Records of investments
    • Drivers' licenses and Social Security cards
    • Dates of birth
  • Don't leave any questions blank.
  • List the colleges you're considering attending. You may list up to 10 if filing the FAFSA online. You don't have to have applied yet or been accepted yet.
  • Sign the FAFSA electronically with a PIN if you complete the FAFSA online.
  • If you complete the FAFSA online without a PIN, you'll need to sign and mail the signature pages.
  • If you complete a paper form, sign the completed form and mail it.
  • You'll receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) within a few weeks after submitting your completed and signed FAFSA.
  • Review the financial aid award letter you receive from each college listed on your FAFSA. The colleges you list on the FAFSA automatically receive your results and use them to prepare your financial aid package. The award letter lists the financial aid you are eligible to receive at that college.

Check out these tips for completing the FAFSA.

If you filed a FAFSA in the previous academic year and provided your e-mail address, you will receive a Renewal FAFSA notification in February from the U.S. Department of Education. When you file your FAFSA online for the current year, the majority of your data will be pre-filled – all you'll need to do is make the necessary corrections/revisions before electronically signing and submitting.

If you don't receive your SAR within four weeks after the date you submit your FAFSA, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4 FED-AID.

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