Undergraduate and graduate, full and part-time students must complete and submit a FAFSA application each year in order to apply for most forms of student aid.  Even if students do not qualify for need-based financial aid, they must complete a FAFSA to be considered for most federal student loans. The U.S. Department of Education begins accepting the applications on January 1st.  Unfortunately, many find the FAFSA application difficult or impossible to complete on their own.

According to Margaret Spelling, former U.S. Secretary of Education, up to 8 million students do not apply for aid each year because of ‘red tape’ associated with the FAFSA.


  • Consists of over 131 income, asset and dependency questions, along with numerous pages of directions.
  • Requires information from 35 lines of the income tax form.
  • Takes an estimated 1 to 2 hours to complete without professional assistance, providing the applicant understands the questions.
  • Has submission deadlines that vary widely by individual state and school and are often earlier than the tax filing deadline.
  • Is frequently submitted with errors and omissions that result in processing delays.  These delays not only result in missed deadlines, but can also cause countless students to miss out on all or part of the financial aid to which they might otherwise be entitled—often amounting to thousands of dollars in lost assistance.

Approximately 2 million of the 14 million FAFSA applications filed last year were rejected due to errors.