NERDWALLET'S FAFSA GUIDE

Find Free Money for College

Apply for scholarships and grants, which don't need to be repaid, as well as student loans, by submitting the FAFSA.

What is the FAFSA?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is the form that the federal government, states, colleges and other organizations use to award financial aid. Submitting it is your key to accessing grants, scholarships, work-study programs and federal student loans.

Completing the FAFSA is the first step for anyone making college plans. But you should also know what other options are available and how much you can afford to borrow. Everything starts with the FAFSA. Submit the FAFSA each year you’re in college — it only takes 30 minutes on average to complete when you’re prepared.

Learn more about the FAFSA

Ready to get started?

Visit the federal student aid website.

How to complete the FAFSA

Mark your calendar

October 1, 2020

Open date for the 2021-22 FAFSA.

Your school’s FAFSA deadline

Different states and colleges have different FAFSA deadlines.

June 30, 2022

Federal deadline for the 2021-22 FAFSA.

Submitted the FAFSA? What to do next

How much debt can you afford to repay?

Start the FAFSA now

Qualify for federal grants and student loans.

Get help with the FAFSA

Email the Federal Student Aid Information Center
Chat with a live agent
• Call the FAFSA help hotline at 800-433-3243 (334-523-2691 for international callers)
Form Your Future helps organize FAFSA completion events nationwide. Click on the link to find one near you.

Pell Abacus is a tool for comparing schools’ net prices, or the amount you’ll owe after grants and scholarships.

More financial aid info from NerdWallet

Manage your money with help from the experts

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