Are there any free filing options or support services?
Our FAFSA preparation and filing service is a fee-based service, similar to hiring a tax preparer to assist you with preparing and filing a tax return. But there are a number of other options available to help students with financial aid applications, issues, and questions at no charge. Some of the organizations offering that help are listed below.
PDF and Paper FAFSA
You can request for a free 10-page paper FAFSA to be mailed to you by calling the US Department of Education at 800-4-FED-AID. To access a PDF version of the same form online, go to www.fafsa.ed.gov/options.htm. You can print the PDF FAFSA to self-prepare by hand, or you can fill it in online, and then print it. A completed paper FAFSA or PDF FAFSA must be hand-signed and mailed to the federal government for processing.
FAFSA on the Web
The US Department of Education provides a web tool you can use to freely self-prepare and submit online, called FAFSA on the Web. To use this option, you would start the process at www.fafsa.ed.gov, then you are directed to go to fsaid.ed.gov to apply for and receive a Federal Student Aid ID number, and then you would return to fafsa.ed.gov to finish. The entire process can comprise 20 separate web pages or more, but it's hard to beat the price.
Financial Aid Administrators
Sometimes, there's nothing like good old fashioned face-to-face support. This kind of support can most easily be obtained by visiting a Financial Aid Administrator at the college you attend or wish to attend. They most likely have a Financial Aid Administrator on staff, and that administrator's job description includes assisting you with your questions about the process. You may need to make an appointment to visit their office, or you may be able to walk right in. If you have questions about how to prepare your FAFSA, make sure you bring supporting documentation such as identification cards, your most recent tax return, untaxed income records, bank statements, and any investment and business records.
National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators
By visiting www.nasfaa.org you can view online resources available to help you complete the FAFSA. It offers plenty of useful guides and information to assist with the financial aid process.
Federal Student Aid Information Center
The website www.studentaid.ed.gov is provided to you by the US Department of Education. It contains an extensive collection of articles designed to assist in getting the funding you need to continue education after high school. You may also call them at 800-4-FED-AID.