With CAP, the FAFSA doesn’t have to be scary.

minutes is the average time it takes to complete the FAFSA

of FAFSA forms were incomplete last year

make costly mistakes

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is the form required to receive federal loans and grants for college.

Create FSA IDs for parent(s) and student.

Before you begin, you’ll need to create an FSA ID. The student and custodial parent(s) (if a dependent student) must have FSA IDs.

* Note that the FAFSA has changed the login procedure. The student and a parent are now required to create an FSA ID; the student must create an FSA ID with his or her own information. Because the FSA ID serves as a legal signature, each person must create his or her own ID. A username, password, and multiple challenge questions are required, along with immediate access to the registered email address. A security code will be sent to each email address and must be verified within a time limit.

Save your data.

We recommend that you print each screen as you enter personal information to keep in a secure place for future reference. Use our info sheet to keep track of the information that you used on your FAFSA and FSA ID.

Use the IRS Data Tool.

You’ll need your social security number, driver’s license, W-2 forms, income tax forms, current bank statements, and business & investment records.

List the colleges to which you’ll apply.

You’ll need to enter school codes for up to 10 schools where you plan to apply. (For a paper FAFSA, you will only be able to list 4 schools.) If you haven’t decided where you’re applying, list the schools you think are possibilities and submit the FAFSA as soon as possible.

Review your Student Aid Report (SAR).

After you submit your FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report that outlines the information you provided and includes your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Review this information and correct any mistakes.