Pay For College | Step 1: Fill Out the FAFSA

Want help paying for college? Start by filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

Delawaregoestocollege_Step_1_Fill_Out_the_FAFSA_01Before deciding on a college, high school students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, as soon as possible after January 1.

Filling out and submitting a FAFSA form is the first and most important step in getting help paying for college. In fact, students must submit a FAFSA to receive any financial aid from the federal and state governments, and is required for most aid from the colleges to which they apply.

Most students qualify for some form of financial assistance. Those who file early are rewarded.

Students who file early have the best chances for scholarships and grants because a set amount is allotted each year. Late-filers may find the free money has all been awarded.

Through the information you supply on the FAFSA, the federal government determines what your Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) will be, which refers to how much money your family will be expected to contribute to your college education. The remaining cost can be made up of federal money, grants and scholarships from the State, from the college you attend, by private scholarships you apply for on your own, or by loans that students and/or parents may choose to take out for this purpose. ,All college-going students, whether their grades are average or whether they come from wealthy homes, should file a FAFSA because all kinds of students are eligible for various kinds of aid.

Watch this video about FAFSA to learn more.

There are three ways to fill out a FAFSA: directly online, on a downloaded PDF or by paper version.

The last two of these must be submitted by mail. Filing online is easy. You don’t have to complete the form in one session, but can save your information and go back to it when you’re ready. The government has made the form user-friendly and supplies tips along the way.

To begin filling out the FAFSA or to request a paper form, go to For answers to questions, click on