As of September 2015, the estimated average time it takes to complete and submit the initial Free Application for Federal Student Aid online is 55 minutes, according to U.S. Department of Education. A renewal application takes 45 minutes on average, while correcting a FAFSA takes 10 minutes.
The online FAFSA is the recommended application method for securing federal financial aid, according to the U.S Department of Education. However, a student can download a PDF version of the application, complete it and mail it for processing or request a paper FAFSA by phone. The FAFSA requires the applicant's personal, financial and tax information and that of the parents of dependant applicants, notes Learning Lab.