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Applying for FAFSA entails filling in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form, which is also referred to as the ‘FAFSA form.’ This is something that is done by either people who are planning on going to college, that is, prospective college students or people who are already progressing with college students, also referred to as current students. Sometimes, parents and guardians of the two categories of students may be involved in the process of applying for FAFSA.

fafsa.ed.gov

Ways in which you can go about applying for FAFSA

The first step in the process of applying for FAFSA will, quite naturally, be that of gaining access to the actual Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. This you can easily do through the FAFSA website, which is www.fafsa.ed.gov.

Now the first way in which you can go about applying for FAFSA, once you have gained access to the form, is to fill it online, and submit it at the click of a button, at the FAFSA website. The FAFSA website is part of the larger US Department of Education online ecology.

The second way in which you can go about applying for FAFSA, once you have gained access to the FAFSA form, is to print it out, fill it manually, and then proceed to mail it by post.

Approaches you can use when applying for FAFSA

The first approach, which is what most people use, is the DIY approach – where you apply for FAFSA by yourself, as the process is fairly straightforward.

The second approach is that of relying on a professional preparer, to whom you have to pay a fee. This is an approach you may use if you feel that the process of applying for FAFSA is too complex for you, or if you lack the time for it.

Tools to help you when applying for FAFSA

There are many tools that may help you in applying for FAFSA. One particularly useful tool, which is actually recommended by the authorities that process FAFSAs is the IRS’ Data Retrieval Tool. This can help you with the retrieval – and automatic entry — of the tax information which is required as part of the FAFSA.

Forms of student aid applied for

When applying for FAFSA, you actually render an application for many forms of student aid, including:

  • The student loans that have to be repaid.
  • The student grants that don’t have to be repaid.
  • The government-funded work-study programs.


Issues to remember when applying for FAFSA

There are many issues to remember when applying for FAFSA, including the facts that:

  • There is a deadline, by which FAFSAs are supposed to have been submitted.
  • Some forms of student aid are awarded on first come first served basis, hence the need to ensure you fill in and submit your FAFSA as soon as possible.
  • You need to be truthful, knowing that there are numerous mechanisms for counterchecking the information you provide in the FAFSA.

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www.pin.ed.gov is the page on which students and parents keen on securing federal student aid can apply for a federal student aid PIN. The said federal student aid PIN is important, because without it, one can’t actually embark on the process of filling in the FAFSA, that is, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. There are several other federal student aid PIN-related functions you can perform at this site, as we will see later. You don’t have to remember this page’s longish web address though. As we will see later, to access this page, you just need to enter the main federal student aid PIN application website’s address, which is www.pin.ed.gov, and you are automatically redirected to http://www.pin.ed.gov/PINWebApp/pinindex.jsp.Language options

Pin.ed.gov, like most other websites within the ecology of US government sites, is available both in English and Spanish.

Specific functions

Some of the specific functions you can perform at the website include:

  • Making an application for a new Federal Student Aid PIN
  • Changing the Federal Student Aid PIN
  • Updating the personal information tied to the Federal Student Aid PIN
  • Checking the Status of a Federal Student Aid PIN
  • Disabling a Federal Student Aid PIN
  • Activating a Federal Student Aid PIN
  • Reestablishing a Federal Student Aid PIN

Performing the respective functions

There is a menu on the left side of the page at Fafsa pin site, where the various functions are listed. You simply select what you want to do, by clicking on the relevant menu item. If, for instance, you want to check PIN status, you will find a place labeled ‘Check PIN Status’ on the menu on the left side of the Fafsa pin site. You just have to click on that, to be taken to a page where you can do the actual checking of PIN status.

Accessing the Federal Student Aid PIN page

You can access the federal student aid PIN page, by following a link for a search engine, pursuant to a relevant query. You can also get to this particular page, as alluded to earlier, from the homepage of the Federal Student Aid PIN home

Important links

There are many important links you can find at the federal student aid PIN application page, including:

  • A link to the FAFSA website — that is a site where, having acquired a Federal Student Aid PIN, you can proceed to use it in filling an actual Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
  • A link to the studentaid.gov where you can find pertinent information on the federal aid available to students.
  • Whitehouse.gov, USA.gov and ed.gov where you may, at a general level, find information on the government policy about federal student aid and other related matters.

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What is the FAFSA deadline?

The FAFSA deadline is the latest date by which students applying for federal student aid should have filled in and submitted their FAFSA forms.

Exactly when is the FAFSA deadline?

In order to understand when the FAFSA deadline is, you need to appreciate that federal student aid is normally requested for, through the FAFSA, within the context of ‘application periods.’ The application periods correspond to academic years. The application period for a given academic year starts on the 1st of January that year – regardless of which months the respective colleges’ academic years start. From that 1st day of January, the application period is 18 months: that is, up to June the next year. That, then, is the latest date by which a FAFSA form for a given year can be accepted by the processing agencies. But that is just the federal deadline. You have to remember that the FAFSA is also the form used in making decisions on the award of state-sponsored student aid and college-sponsored student aid. The respective states and colleges tend to have their own FAFSA deadlines. That is what brings about the variations in FAFSA deadlines between states and between colleges – meaning that you shouldn’t simply assume that the 18 months federal processing duration for a given application period will be applicable across the board automatically. In fact, that is hardly ever the case.

Where can one get information about the FAFSA deadline?

One of the best resources to go to, when looking for information about the FAFSA deadline, is the sub-site within the Department of Education dealing with and devoted exclusive to matters related to FAFSA: www.fafsa.ed.gov. You can also talk to the folks in your college’s – or in your prospective college’s – student finance office, to get information on the FAFSA deadline.

Can the FAFSA deadline be extended?

Generally no. The 18-month duration given by the federal government within a given year is particularly rigid and, in any event, it is too long a period of time for any serious person to be asking for extensions. Even where there is room for flexibility in the deadlines given by states and colleges for the submission of FAFSA forms, it is best to assume that such flexibility doesn’t exist and try to abide by the deadline, if you want to be on the safe side.

What else should I know about the FAFSA deadline?

You should appreciate that although the FAFSA deadline is the latest date by which FAFSA forms are accepted, it is by no means the ideal date to submit the form. Given the fact that student aid applications are typically dealt with on a first come first served basis, you should submit yours as early as possible, rather than waiting for a period just before the deadline. You can view the deadlines over here.

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FAFSA Questions: Understanding Them

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What are FAFSA questions? These are the questions contained in the FAFSA form — that is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. The number of FAFSA questions may vary from one period to another, but they are usually numerous: running into well over 100 questions in the recent years. That is just as [...]

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Learning More About FAFSA Application

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What exactly is the FAFSA application? The FAFSA application is meant to be a mechanism through which Federal Student Aid can be requested for. As a matter of fact, the acronym FAFSA in the phrase ‘FAFSA application’ is one that in full expands to the ‘Free Application for Federal Student Aid.’ It is free in [...]

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