The Online FAFSA Versus the Print FAFSA

When it's time to fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you can choose to complete an online FAFSA or a paper FAFSA. There are some pros and cons to filling out the forms each way, but the online FAFSA has a few advantages. Decide on which method you are most comfortable with, and proceed with confidence.

Speed: The online application offers a few advantages. The biggest perk for using an online FAFSA is that you will receive the Student Aid Report (SAR) more quickly than if you were to mail in a print application. Some estimate that filing is done as quickly as 14 days faster than via print. You'll also save on postage and processing costs with an online form.

Accuracy: The online FAFSA process gives you many high-tech aides when filling out the form. You don't have to worry if someone can read your handwriting, and you don't have to worry that you are calculating something incorrectly. There are worksheets and calculators that you can use to plug in your own information and get accurate data back. The online FAFSA also checks for any errors or inconsistencies you may have included. Any questionable areas will be immediately pointed out to you. However, you may be more comfortable adding numbers on paper instead of basing everything on a computer program.

Convenience: You can work on the online FAFSA application at any time and have the benefit of saving your work and returning to it later without starting all over. You'll also get a personal identification number that you will use to "sign" the application when you are ready to turn it in.

The online FAFSA will provide you with a certification number when you have submitted it, proving that you completed the process. For a print FAFSA, you would need to send it certified mail to ensure its receipt. Finally, an online FAFSA's status can be checked at any time via the electronic PIN number supplied during the process. A print FAFSA offers no way to check the status.

No Wrong Way: While it may appear that an online FAFSA is a winner, this assumes that you have regular access to the computer and that you or your parents are comfortable with sending out data online. Some people are also uncomfortable with sending out personal information on the Web, no matter how high the security. A paper FAFSA is still entirely acceptable.

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By following a few free FAFSA tips, you may be able to increase your chances at getting grants and loans. When you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Financial Aid (FAFSA), you are presenting your financial information to be reviewed by colleges.

It's not difficult to apply for financial aid for college. Once you know the basic steps to getting the money that you need for school, it will be easy to get everything done on time. If you follow these steps, you'll be able to take advantage of different types of financial assistance available.

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What does FAFSA stand for? "FAFSA" means "Free Application for Federal Student Aid," and it has been helping college students get financial aid since 1992.

If you have filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, you may have some questions about what happens next. Read on to learn what to expect after you fill out your FAFSA.

Your FAFSA application must be submitted after January 1 of the year in which you will require financial aid. Submitting as close as possible to that date will increase your chances of fast approval and will demonstrate your commitment to gaining a higher education.

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