How to use screen reader software with FAFSA on the Web

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This site allows visually impaired users to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) independently using a Web browser and screen reader software.

The screen design is consistent throughout the entire application.

The left side of the screen displays the progress as you complete the application.

Each question is in the middle and the answer box is on the right. The answer box is located on the same line as the question unless the question has multiple lines, and then the answer box will be on the same line as the last line of the question.

There are multiple pages of questions because it is not possible to fit all the questions onto one screen.

The screen page is designed to fit in the Web browser. If the page size is larger than the browser, you can use the browser scroll bars to move the page.

At the lower part of each page are seven buttons: Previous, Next, Exit, Save, Clear All Data, View FAFSA Summary, and Need Help?

When you are ready to go to the next or previous page, use the Next or Previous buttons. Depending on your answers to certain questions, you may be eligible to skip questions. The Next and Previous buttons will guide you to the correct page.

FAFSA on the Web uses four types of answer boxes for responses: radio buttons, text boxes, list boxes and check boxes.

Radio buttons are used to select one or more predefined responses.

Text boxes are used for questions that do not have predefined responses, such as name, address, and income earned.

While these questions allow for free-form entry, only certain values are valid responses.

For example, only numbers are acceptable for the ZIP code question. If an invalid value is entered in a text answer box, an error message displays, and you will be taken back to the same page to fix the error. An arrow will point to the question containing the invalid entry. The screen focus will also be set to the question.

List boxes are used for questions where you must choose from a list of options.

These questions do not allow for free-form entry. Only the values in the list may be selected.

For example, only valid states will be available for answers to the State question.

Check boxes are used to select one or more predefined responses.

Help topics are accessed by clicking Need Help? at the lower part of the screen or by selecting hyperlink text that display on pop-up windows. When you finish reading the help topic, close the pop-up window (Alt-F4), and the screen focus will return to the main browser window. Help and Hints will display on the right side of the main browser window when the focus is on an answer field of a specific question.

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