How Long Does It Take to File the FAFSA?

Facebook icon Twitter icon Print icon Email icon
Mark Kantrowitz

By Mark Kantrowitz

September 21, 2020

Filling out the FAFSA takes a lot less time than most people fear. It takes about 10 minutes to create an FSA ID. It takes less than an hour to complete a new FAFSA and about half an hour for a renewal FAFSA.

Even though the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has more than 100 questions, the FAFSA has many features that make it easier to fill out the form. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool lets you transfer income and tax information from your federal income tax return to the FAFSA. Intelligent skip logic uses the answers to earlier questions to avoid the need to ask later questions.

This table summarizes government data concerning how long it takes people to complete the online FAFSA. It shows the overall average time to submit the FAFSA from start to finish. 

Type of FAFSA
Dependent Students
Independent Students
51 minutes
27 minutes
35 minutes
17 minutes

How to Speed Up Filing the FAFSA

To speed up filing the FAFSA, do the following:

See also:

A good place to start:

See the best 529 plans, personalized for you