Please note that LinuxExchange will be shutting down on December 31st, 2016. Visit this thread for additional information and to provide feedback.

All Americans who need money for college have to go through the federal student aid website. The form is called FAFSA [Free Application for Federal Student Aid]. While the application may be free, it does not support Linux. You can use Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and even an iPhone, but if your browser shows the Linux OS the site tells you to go get a new one.

I do understand that our government is trying to prevent "bad user experiences", but rather than warn you that the site might not work properly and let you in anyway, they just lock you out. What should you do (other than go get a Windows machine)?

asked 16 Jan '11, 05:48

pcardout's gravatar image

accept rate: 46%

edited 16 Jan '11, 06:01

It only took me about ten minutes to figure this one out, but I saw a lot of panicked posts from students on Ubuntu forums, so thought it belonged on this site.

Most of us use Firefox/Iceweasel since it is more compatible than most Linux browsers. You need the Firefox User Agent Switcher

(and you really ought to leave the fellow $1.99 ... the add-on works nicely!).

Once you install it, go to Tools and pull down until you see User Agent Switcher or Default User Agent. Then just change it to Internet Explorer 7 (or some such). Web browsers announce what they are via the user-agent-string. This app just hacks the string and lies. Of course, if your browser really isn't compatible, it won't make it compatible, but if some silly bureaucrat is keeping you out of their site because their lawyers (I speculate) told them they had to protect you from yourself in case you skinned your kneee, then if lets you in. My experience is Firefox is compatible with most everything, so it is entirely correct to fib to the site.


answered 16 Jan '11, 05:57

pcardout's gravatar image

accept rate: 46%

I was going to suggest this same Firefox add-on, but pcardout beat me to it. Kudos and +1 for an excellent answer.


answered 17 Jan '11, 15:10

Ron's gravatar image

Ron ♦
accept rate: 13%

Thanks Ron -- means a lot from an LE stud like yourself (grin).

(29 Jan '11, 05:17) pcardout

download wine and use the packaged ie6, then remove wine.


answered 17 Feb '11, 17:09

justin's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

Your answer
toggle preview

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text]( "Title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "Title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported



Asked: 16 Jan '11, 05:48

Seen: 41,820 times

Last updated: 17 Feb '11, 17:09

powered by OSQA