If you made a mistake when submitting the FAFSA, contact your school’s financial aid office and let them know. They know all the rules and regulations and will tell you what steps to take to make FAFSA corrections.
Correcting errors on the FAFSA will help you to avoid missing out on federal grants, loans, and some schools’ need-based aid.
What Happens if You Make a Mistake on FAFSA?
You can make certain corrections after submitting your FAFSA form, but some mistakes require the school to fix. Common mistakes families make on the FAFSA include:
- Incomplete information about yourself or your family members
- Incorrect information about your income or assets
- Information about your parents’ tax return
Corrections You Can Make Once Your FAFSA Form Has Been Processed
There’s a lot of paperwork involved in applying for FAFSA, so if you’ve made a mistake, don’t worry — it can be fixed. Below are some mistakes that you can correct yourself.
You entered the wrong social security number.
Your FAFSA will be rejected if you enter the wrong social security number and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) will not be calculated.
If either the student or parent SSN are incorrect, there will be an error message on the Student Aid Report (SAR) and you will be able to submit a correction to the FAFSA online.
You entered the wrong information for yourself or another family member.
It’s possible that you entered the wrong information, such as an address, date of birth, or household size number. These are simple mistakes that can be corrected online yourself.
You applied for the wrong year.
You must apply for the correct year if you want to receive financial aid.
While you can’t change the academic year on the FAFSA that was already submitted, you can login and complete the correct year’s application.
You need to add or delete a school.
You can add up to 10 schools per year on the FAFSA. If you need to submit it to additional schools, you can make a correction after the initial submission and update the school list.
You’re selected for FAFSA verification.
If you’re selected to complete the verification process, you’ll receive an email telling you what’s needed from each school. You may need to make a correction depending on what needs to be verified.
What Information Can’t Be Corrected Online?
Some FAFSA mistakes require the school’s financial aid office to correct. Most situations will require additional documentation to be submitted to the school. Below are mistakes that you should reach out to the school to have fixed.
Your tax information or assets were not reported correctly.
Most income information will need to be corrected by the school. When you contact the office to explain the issue, they will let you know if you can correct it yourself or if you need to submit documents to them.
A common mistake is using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) and not reporting if any amount of the untaxed portion of IRA distributions and pensions were rollovers. The DRT will automatically include all distributions. If you don’t report them as rollovers, contact your financial aid office to have them correct it.
The marital status has changed since the initial submission.
If the student or parent marital status was reported incorrectly on the FAFSA, you are able to log back in and make the changes yourself.
However, if the student or parent marital status changes after the initial form has been submitted, you need to contact the school to update it.
Your dependency status changed.
The FAFSA determines if you are a dependent student based on a series of “yes” or “no” questions on the application.
If any of your answers change from the initial FAFSA submission and you no longer believe you are a dependent student, you should contact the school’s financial aid office before making any changes.
Your income situation has changed since the tax year reported on the FAFSA.
If your family’s financial situation has changed, you should contact the school and follow their process for updating the form to better reflect your current income.
Most schools will refer to this process as “professional judgment” or a “change in circumstance.”
File a Financial Aid Appeal
After submitting the FAFSA, a student can appeal any decision regarding their financial aid award letter by filing a “financial aid appeal.”
Contact the school to find out how to submit an appeal. Each school may have a different process for appealing aid.
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