FAFSA on the Web (FOTW) is the online version of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Electronic filing of the FAFSA is faster and more accurate than filing a paper or PDF version of the FAFSA.
The online version of the FAFSA includes intelligent skip logic to omit irrelevant questions, thus, saving time. Applicants may be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) to transfer data from their federal income tax returns into the FAFSA.
Submitting the online version of the FAFSA is also more accurate. It avoids scanning errors that can occur with a paper or PDF version of the FAFSA. The online FAFSA can also detect and correct the most common types of errors through internal consistency tests called "edit checks" and through real-time comparisons of FAFSA data with data from other federal agencies.
The paper and PDF versions of the FAFSA must be mailed to the application processor, which can add delays until the form is received. The online FAFSA avoids the cost of postage and leads to quicker processing of the form.
Submitting the FAFSA online can cut 1-2 weeks off of the FAFSA processing time.
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