Students apply for all federal government student loans by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, reports Federal Student Aid. Students can fill out the FAFSA online, print out or order a paper copy, or file the FAFSA through their school.
To complete an online FAFSA application, students go to FAFSA.ed.gov and click on Start a New FAFSA. Students first create a unique FSA ID, username and password in order to electronically sign the FAFSA upon completion. Applicants need information such as their Social Security number, the Social Security numbers of their parents, driver's license or ID numbers, and the totals of taxed and untaxed income and the assets of themselves and their parents to complete the form, explains Federal Student Aid. Along with the FAFSA, the student submits the names of at least one and up to 10 colleges on an online FAFSA or four colleges on a paper FAFSA that should receive the FAFSA information.
Students can check the status of their FAFSA application by logging in online, notes Federal Student Aid. Within three weeks, an applicant receives a Student Aid Report, which is a summary of the submitted information and not a specific offer of aid. Once colleges listed on the FAFSA application accept students for admission, they send an aid offer, also known as an award letter, detailing exactly how much aid the student is eligible for at that particular school.