All You Need to Know About Applying for FAFSA

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) season is in full swing! Whether you’re a college student, a high school senior or you’re seeking financial aid for your child, it’s time to fill out those forms. We have answered all your questions on FAFSA.

When is my application due?

There are three deadlines to know: federal, college, and state. The federal FAFSA submission has a set deadline, while each college and state sets its own separate deadline.

Generally, FAFSA forms become available in October for the next award year, which runs from July 1 to June 30. Online applications for this form must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Central time (CT) on June 30. Any corrections or updates must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. CT on a specific date in mid-September. You can look up the deadlines for your college and state using this link: College and State deadlines.

Who is eligible?

To qualify for FAFSA you must:

  • Demonstrate financial need.
  • Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible noncitizen.
  • Men must be registered with Selective Service.
  • Be enrolled as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program.
  • Have a high school diploma or a recognized equivalent.

You can view the full list of eligibility requirements here.

How do I apply for FAFSA?

You can now apply using the free myStudentAid app. If you use the app with an Apple device, be sure to disable the “smart punctuation” feature before filling out the form.

You can also apply online at

It is not recommended that you apply via snail mail, because online applications are processed quicker and generally have fewer errors.

What are some common mistakes people make on the FAFSA form?

To avoid errors, read every question carefully and review your application before submitting.

Here are some of the most common errors on FAFSA forms:

  • Leaving blank fields.
  • Using commas or decimal points in numeric fields.
  • Listing an incorrect Social Security number or driver’s license number.
  • Using the wrong name and/or the wrong address.
  • Forgetting to list your college.
  • Forgetting to sign and date the form.

Can I apply for FAFSA as an independent?

If your parents are not paying for any part of your college tuition, you may be eligible to apply for FAFSA as an independent. You will need to meet one of their requirements, such as being 24 years or older, an orphan, a graduate, a veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States, or legally married. You can view the full list of the FAFSA independent requirements here.

Your Turn: Have you filled out your FAFSA forms? Share your tips with us in the comments.