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Printable PDF versions of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) are available for students who prefer to complete a paper form. You can download PDF versions of the FAFSA in English and Spanish below. You can also request a paper FAFSA by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).
Most people prefer to complete the FAFSA online at FAFSA.ed.gov. The online FAFSA is easier to complete, more accurate, and faster to process. The online FAFSA has built-in edit checks that catch and correct many common errors. Plus, you don’t have to mail the form or wait for the U.S. Department of Education to receive and process the form.
When you apply for financial aid with the FAFSA, the first thing you need to do is select the school year. For example, if you plan to attend college between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017, select 2016-2017 School Year (July 1, 2016 - June 30, 2017).
If you are already enrolled in college and want to file for the current academic year, you should select the previous year’s FAFSA.
(If you want to apply for financial aid for a summer session, check with your college to verify which year’s FAFSA to complete. Some colleges treat the summer session as a “trailer,” tacking it onto the end of the previous academic year. Others treat it as a “header,” tacking it onto the beginning of the next academic year.)
There are two ways to use the PDF version of the FAFSA:
When you print out the PDF version of the FAFSA, print it one-sided, not two-sided. This will make it easier for the federal processor to scan the form.
Mail the FAFSA in a large envelope so you don’t have to fold it. Folding the FAFSA can add creases that may cause errors when it is scanned. Be sure to add the right postage. Oversized envelopes can require 5-6 stamps.
When you submit your FAFSA on paper instead of online, it will take the U.S. Department of Education longer to process your form. This potential delay may cause you to miss your school’s published deadline.
Some schools base their deadlines on the date they receive your application from the FAFSA processor, not the date you submitted the application. Since some schools award funds on a first-come, first served-basis, filing a paper FAFSA could cause you to miss out on financial aid money from the college.
Want to practice on paper before filing out the online FAFSA? There’s a worksheet designed specifically for this purpose. Plus, the FAFSA on the Web Worksheet lists the documents you’ll need to complete the FAFSA.
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If you need help with your FAFSA, Edvisors offers a free ebook on completing the FAFSA quickly and accurately. The book is available for free in PDF format:
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