The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is submitted by prospective college students to the Department of Education in order to apply for financial assistance from the government. Federal Student Aid, an office of the U.S. Department of Education, processes the FAFSA. The financial assistance available includes grants such as the Pell Grant, low or no-interest loans, and federal work-study programs. Even though the FAFSA accronym has the word "Federal" in the name, by submitting a FAFSA you are also applying for hundreds state-run programs when you submit the FAFSA application.
The FAFSA Deadline for the 2012-2013 school year is June 30th, 2013. If you need to make any corrects to your application, it must be submitted by September 15th, 2013. However, you should apply well before the June FAFSA deadline. In fact, it is wise to submit your FAFSA as close to January 1st as possible. This is because the grants offered by individual states have earlier deadlines. For example, March 2012 is the deadline for the initial financial awards in California and 10 other states. Read the FAFSA form to find the exact deadlines for the state you reside in.
There are three ways to fill out and file a FAFSA form:
1. Apply online at fafsa.ed.gov. The Federal Student Aid office recommends this method as it is the fastest and easiest way to apply.
2. Print and fill out the editable PDF which can be downloaded at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/fotw1112/pdf/PdfFafsa11-12.pdf. Mail the completed form to Federal Student Aid Programs, PO Box 7002, Mount Vernon, IL 62864-0072.
3. Request a paper FAFSA be mailed to you by calling (800)433-3243, (319)337-5665, or the Teletype line for the hearing impaired at (800)730-8913.