Obtaining a Federal Student Loan: FAFSA Form. The "Free Application for Federal Student Aid" or FAFSA must be completed to apply for all federal aid except a loan made to the parent of a student under the PLUS Loan program and the Consolidation Loan. Therefore, a FAFSA is required for each of the following types of loans:
Although parents do not need to complete a FAFSA to apply for the Parent PLUS Loan, many financial aid professionals encourage parents to submit a FAFSA so their dependent children can receive the maximum student financial aid for which they are eligible. The FAFSA is also required for all other federal student aid like grants and work-study.
You should complete the FAFSA on or after January 1 of the year you expect to start college. When you complete the FAFSA online, you will have the option of receiving electronically your personal identification number or PIN. The PIN serves as your signature and will give you access to your student aid records. Keep it to yourself and keep it safe!
Because some school and state student aid is also based on the date you provided on your FAFSA and because of funding limitations which are provided on a first come, first served basis, you should submit your FAFSA as soon as possible after Jan 1 to be considered for the greatest amount of this aid possible.
For more information on the FAFSA Form, visit http://www.fafsa.ed.gov.