Tips for Completing the FAFSA

The FAFSA is always free. Never pay a fee to apply for federal aid.

The FAFSA is available online and in paper format, but we encourage students to use the online version at If you need to use the paper version, call 1.800.4.FED.AID to request a paper FAFSA. The best way to complete the FAFSA is online. The online version will skip questions that are not relevant to you, catch errors, and allow you to submit the application instantly. You can also save the online FAFSA to complete it later, and sign it electronically using your FSA ID. You need to file a FAFSA each year to maintain your eligibility for federal and Hampshire College aid.

Click here to watch a tutorial on completing the online FAFSA form.

If you completed a FAFSA for the previous school year, select the option to complete a RENEWAL application (click on the Log In button in the Returning User section of the first page of This will allow certain fields to be transferred from your previous year's FAFSA. Be sure to review these pre-filled fields to make sure the information is still accurate. BE SURE TO SELECT THE APPROPRIATE FAFSA YEAR.

The FAFSA asks questions about you and your family's income and financial resources to determine your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Most of the information you need to complete the FAFSA is on the income tax return(s). You can also import your IRS data directly into the online FAFSA if you have filed your taxes and don't owe any money by using the Data Retrieval Tool, see next paragraph.

Importing your IRS data to the online FAFSA simplifies the application process, reduces errors, and lowers your chances of being selected to verify the information on your FAFSA report. WE STRONGLY ENCOURAGE ALL STUDENTS AND PARENTS TO USE THE IRS DATA RETRIEVAL TOOL ON THE FAFSA.

Review the What's new on the FAFSA section to learn about any new changes on the current FAFSA form.

Review the FAFSA Checklist to gather the documents you need to complete the FAFSA.

And review the common FAFSA errors and the common FAFSA mistakes so you may avoid making one. 

If you have any questions about completing the FAFSA, please contact the FAFSA center at 1.800.4.FED.AID (1.800.433.3243) or the financial aid office.