The Federal Student Aid Office of the United States offers a FAFSA demonstration site for those students and parents who want to use FAFSA on the Web, but feel uneasy about it. The purpose of this site is to help students and parents to become familiar with the form and the process before they actually file for FAFSA.
University of Washington
On this FAFSA Demo site, you can work through a sample FAFSA Application. For example, you may enter your data (or made-up data), make corrections to your data, check the status of your application, or even sign it. But, when you actually click on the ‘submit’ button, your information is not submitted as this site is strictly a learning tool for the FAFSA applicants.
For a link to the FAFSA demo site see: FAFSA Official Website. The user name is eddemo, and the password is fafsatest. Both English and Spanish versions of FAFSA on the Web are available on this site.
These workshops are a great FAFSA resource because their service is free and there are FAFSA-trained staff and volunteers to guide you one-on-one if necessary. The venue also provides computers and printers to be used free of charge for anyone who is filling out their FAFSA on the web. Just make sure that you (student and parent) have all the necessary paperwork with you including your most recent IRS tax returns and other financial records such as your recent W-2 forms, bank statements, business and investment records, and records of un-taxed income such as veteran’s benefits, child support or worker’s compensation. Starting with 2017-2018 school year, it gets a bit easier because you will use your 2015 tax return, which is already filed.
In California, you may visit: www.cash4college.org for a list of free workshop locations based on your postal zip code.
Of course, you can always pay someone else to fill out the FAFSA on your behalf for a fee. But know that filling out your FAFSA is quite a straight forward process. On the average, it takes no more than an hour to fill out FAFSA on the web, provided that you have done your homework and have collected all your financial records for entering your data. Furthermore, most colleges and universities advise their perspective applicants to never pay anyone for help on applying for financial aid. The financial aid officers at the school(s) you are applying to are willing and able to help you directly.
Also know that the FAFSA on the web has a question that will ask you if you are a preparer, meaning if you are a paid person who is filling out the form on behalf of a student and/or a parent.
FAFSA Help Line: (800) 4- FED- AID (800) 433- 3243
(800) 730- 8913 (TTY users – for hearing impaired)
Hours of Operation: M-F 8:00 am – 12:00 Midnight (Eastern Time)
SAT 9:00 am – 6:00 pm (Eastern Time)
Read more FAFSA help tips from other students and parents below, or at our page on FAFSA Hints.
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