Should you fill out the FAFSA online or on paper?

You have two choices when you fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid: online with FAFSA on the Web, or the old-fashioned way— on paper. FAFSA recommends that you save a tree and fill out the FAFSA online.Why?

Here are some of the benefits when you fill out a FAFSA online:

  • Access to Help: With FAFSA on the Web, help is readily available. If you have trouble with a specific section, you can click the “Need Help?” icon at the bottom of each page. One-on-one real-time help from a customer service representative is also available by clicking “Live Help” at the top of each FAFSA webpage.
  • Worksheets: FAFSA online provides worksheets that automatically calculate and enter data for you, saving you time and energy.
  • Automatically Checks for Errors: FAFSA on the Web features built-in error checking. If you fill out your FAFSA online, it will probably be more accurate than one submitted on paper.
  • Easy Electronic Signing: You can use a Personal Identification Number (PIN) to sign your FAFSA online. With the paper application, you must mail in a signature page.
  • Automatic Save: FAFSA on the Web allows you to save your application at any time and return to it later.
  • Faster Student Aid Report: You will receive your Student Aid Report, or SAR, more quickly when you fill out your FAFSA online rather than with paper or PDF versions.
  • More Spaces for Colleges: FAFSA on the Web allows you to list ten colleges you are considering. The paper version has space for only four.
  • Saves the Federal Government Money: When you fill out your FAFSA online, you will save the federal government money in processing costs. Do it for Uncle Sam!

If you have an internet-ready computer at your disposal, there’s really no reason not to fill out your FAFSA online. If you’re still not convinced, you can print a paper copy of the FAFSA to fill out, or order one starting November 1 each year. Call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3242) or 1-391-337-5665. (Those who are hearing impaired can call the TTY number at 1-800-730-8913.)