How to apply for FAFSA 2019?

Federal Student Aid, or commonly known as the FAFSA, is the ultimate financial aid service to nearly two-thirds of the students in the United States. However, several FAFSA applications get rejected due to errors that occur during the application process. This articles throws light on the methods to fill the FAFSA form correctly and with ease.

Updated by Theres Ann on 1st May 2019

What is FAFSA?

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form that is filled by the current and prospective college students, of the United States. The applications to this Aid are sorted out to find out the students who are most eligible for financial aid.

The FAFSA includes grants, Federal Work-Study Program, Federal Student Loans, State and School Financial Aids. FAFSA can be applied at the website. 

FAFSA 2019

Different steps in applying for FAFSA 2019 is as given below. Students can apply for the same in the from Oct 1. 2018 onwards.

  • A FAFSA ID is created at the website.

  • The US Citizens can fill in their Social Security Number and the others their Alien Registration Number.

  • On your 2019-20 FAFSA form, your 2017 income records are entered. The IRS* Data Retrieval Tool will help you in extracting your Tax information to your FAFSA form.

  • Records of your untaxed income should also be entered.

  • Records of your assets are also entered.

  • Identify and enter in the list all schools that you wish to apply to.

*IRS or Internal Revenue Service is the nation's tax-collecting agency.

How to fill FAFSA online?

Students can choose one of three ways to file an application for Federal Student Aid

  • FAFSA login portal

  • Complete a PDF FAFSA application

  • Request a paper FAFSA by calling 1-800-4-FED-AID

FAFSA form filling is a straightforward and easy procedure. Official site will guide the disciples through the application process; click on the “Start A New FAFSA” icon on the home page and follow the guidelines on the screen.

FAFSA filling includes various steps, here are few instructions to help you along the way.

Step 1 - Create an account (FSA ID)



  • Student - Student FSA ID consists of a username and password which is required to sign in the FAFSA online form. If a student wants to start a new FSA ID, one can log in to new FAFSA creation takes approximately 10 min and the user needs to sign in and submit form appropriately. If a student already is a user of FSA ID, he/she need to wait for few days for account confirmation procedure before one can use new FSA ID to renew FAFSA form and sign in online

  • Parent - If a student needs to report parent information in the FAFSA form, parents need to create their own FSA ID in order to sign child FAFSA online form. Parents can use their FSA ID’s right away after creation.

Step 2 - Start applying for the FAFSA using, by doing FAFSA login. The filling process is as follows



Step 3 - Fill the student demographics section, in this, you have to fill in your information. If a student already is a user of FSA ID, personal data will be existing to save students time.



Step 4 - Listing the schools to which FAFSA is to be sent. If a student doesn’t apply or get acknowledged to a school, the school can disregard FAFSA form.



Step 5 - Answering the dependency status questions. A student declaring as a dependent student must provide information about parents as this process can be skipped for independent students.



Step 6 - Answering the parent demographics section. The student needs to provide parent demographics irrespective of their residential locations if he/she is reported as a dependent student.



Step 7 - Provide financial information. IRS Data Retrieval Tool can be used for simplification. IRS DRT transfers IRS tax information into FAFSA. In order to use this tool student needs to indicate “already completed ” taxes on financial pages. Click on “LINK TO IRS” if eligible



Step 8 - Sign and submit FAFSA form.



How to apply for FAFSA loans?

For all the services of the FAFSA, a FAFSA form is first completed and submitted. 

  • After completion of the FAFSA application, the institution that you have applied to will send you a financial aid offer. 

  • Depending upon the eligibility that is met, the school tells you to choose either all or part of the loans.

  • Before the submission of application two important processes such as entrance counseling and MPN submission is carried out.

  • Entrance counseling session ensures to provide you all information about the repayment of your loan and that you are obliged to pay back loan amount that you have borrowed.

  • MPN is the Master Promissory Note which is a legal document wherein you promise your consent to repay the loan with the accrued interest. In MPN you also agree upon the interest rate, repayment period, repayment mode and more.

FAFSA Eligibility

Students are eligible for receiving financial aid from government irrespective of age, race, or field of study. Each student fits in one form of financial aid or another, nevertheless a student needs to satisfy the following obligations.

  • The student must be a citizen of U.S. or an eligible non-citizen with a valid Social Security number.

  • Male students between age 18-25 should be registered with U.S. Selective Service

  • Financial aid received from FAFSA should mandatorily be used for educational purpose

  • Not be in non-payment of any student loan or owe any money for any federal loans (Direct PLUSSubsidized and Unsubsidized loans, etc.)

  • Any student receiving financial aid should not involve or be found guilty of any sort of illegal drugs possession or selling.

  • The student should have a high school diploma or a General Education Development certificate

  • Should be enrolled as a regular student in an eligible degree or certificate program

  • Have a valid social security number

  • Maintain satisfactory academic results

What is FAFSA Verification?

This process ensures that information provided on FAFSA is accurate

U.S Department of education or institution selects an application for verification. If the application is not selected for verification, reasons might fall under any of the following.

  • Incomplete FAFSA

  • FAFSA contains inconsistent data

  • FAFSA contains estimated data

  • Random selection

11 Common Mistakes During FAFSA Application

There are several errors that occur during and after the FAFSA application that can prevent your application from being accepted. Take caution during all the steps of application and never fall prey to any of the mistakes listed below.

  • Not completing the form as it takes a lengthy process and consumes more time.

  • Not using the authenticated website provided by the government

  • Delay in filling the FAFSA form can lead to an exhaust of money in schools and colleges

  • Missing the FAFSA deadline.

  • Not getting an FSA ID before filling the FAFSA form

  • Not using FAFSA id to start FAFSA form

  • Not using IRS Data Retrieval Tool

  • Improper data input

  • Not reporting required information

  • Not signing FAFSA form

  • Not using FAFSA Calculator to check the possible amount of financial aid that one can get.


Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a free application that is used virtually by two and four-year colleges, universities and career schools for funding government, state, and university funded student aid. One can also use the Common app also known as the Common Application after applying for FAFSA in order to over 700 member colleges and 29 state and District Universities.

Almost two-thirds of the college students in the United States receive Financial Aid. Fill your FAFSA form correctly to receive the financial aid at the earliest.


  What is FAFSA?

A. In short, it can be termed as an annual form that can be filled by a current or prospective college student (undergraduate and graduate) in the United States to determine their eligibility for student financial aid.

  Who needs to file a FAFSA?

Anyone who can file a FAFSA if you want any type of financial aid, the eligibility criteria for FAFSA is mentioned above in the article.

  How long does it take to complete a FAFSA application?

It would take 55 minutes to complete a FAFSA for the first time, 45 minutes for a Renewal FAFSA and 10 minutes to submit corrections to the FAFSA. The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 notice on the PDF version of the FAFSA estimates that completing the paper FAFSA will take 3 hours on average, including the time to read the instructions and gather the necessary data.

  What do all the acronyms mean? (FAFSA, ED, IRS, DRN, SAR, EFC, PIN, and FSA ID)  

The acronyms are as follows

FAFSA:- Federal Student Aid

ED:- US Department of Education

IRS:- US Internal Revenue Service

DRN:- Data Release Number

SAR:- Student Aid Report

EFC:- Estimated Family Contribution

PIN:- Personal Identification Number

FSA ID:- Federal Student Aid identification

  Who is eligible for federal student financial aid?  

All persons who meet the above eligibility criteria can apply for Federal Student Financial Aid

  What does IRS mean?  

IRS means Internal Revenue Services, it is a US Government Agency responsible for the collection of taxes and enforcement of tax laws.

  What is an academic year?  

The period of the year during which students attend school or university, usually reckoned from the beginning of the autumn term to the end of the summer term.

  Am I a dependent or independent student?  

If you are an Undergraduate student who is under 24 years of age as of December 31 of the award year is considered to be dependent for federal student aid purposes unless you are married, have dependents other than a spouse, are an orphan, are a veteran or active duty member of the US Armed Forces or satisfy other very limited criteria. If you don’t meet any of the above requirements, then you are not considered independent for financial aid purposes. If you meet all the requirements, you are considered as an independent student.

  How do I provide an electronic signature?

Use your FSA ID to sign your application electronically. When you sign your application electronically using your FSA ID, your application is processed within 3-5 days. To sign your application electronically, click the Login button on the FAFSA on the Web home page to log in, and then click the Provide Signatures button.

Alternatively, you can choose one of the following options:

  • Print a signature page, sign it, and mail it to the address on the page. Your application will be processed once your signature is received.

  • Submit your FAFSA without signatures. Your application will be partially processed without signatures, and you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) within 3-5 days. In order for your FAFSA to fully process, you’ll need to return later to sign electronically.