Get a pin. Before beginning the FAFSA you should apply for a federal student aid Personal Identification Number (PIN) at www.pin.ed.gov. The PIN allows you to sign your FAFSA electronically and later to access your processed FAFSA online. Don't share your PIN with anyone! If you are providing parent information on the FAFSA, one of your parents also must sign your application. To sign electronically, your parent must apply for his or her own PIN.

Gather the information to apply.
Your social security number and your parents' social security numbers (if you are providing parent information). Your driver's license number if you have one. Your alien registration number if you are not a U.S. citizen. Federal tax information or tax returns, including W-2 information for yourself, your spouse, and your parents (if you are providing parent information), using income records from the year prior to the academic year for which you are applying. Records of untaxed income (such as social security benefits, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits, veterans benefits, and information on savings, investments, and business and farm assets for yourself (and for your parents if you are providing parent information). Be aware of deadlines. Financial aid deadlines for states and schools are usually earlier than federal deadlines.

Use the FAFSA worksheet on the web. Your college or high school might have a copy of the worksheet, or you can print one from www.FAFSA.ed.gov. This worksheet is optional, but it will help you collect the information you need to fill out your FAFSA online.

Complete your application. Enter all necessary information at www.FAFSA.ed.gov. If you need help, there are help links on each page of the online application.

Submit your application. After you submit your application, make sure you receive a confirmation number. This number tells you your application has been successfully submitted. Keep this confirmation number for your records.

Follow up on your FAFSA. Your application will be processed and you will receive an e-mail with a link to your Student Aid Report (SAR). If you did not provide an e-mail address you will receive your SAR by mail. You should review your SAR for any necessary corrections or updates. If you do not hear from them within three weeks, go to www.FAFSA.ed.gov and select "Check status of a submitted FAFSA or Print Signature Page."