Most Common FAFSA Mistakes
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an electronic application provided by the US Department of Education that evaluates the student's (and their spouse or parents) financial strength to pay for college. The FAFSA is a FREE application. You should never be asked to pay a fee to fill out the FAFSA. Below is a listing of the most commonly made mistakes on the FAFSA. Familiarize yourself with these so that you have accurate answers to your FAFSA questions. If you have a specific frequently asked questions, the Department of Education allows you to search their FAQs.
You must use your legal name (look to your Social Security Card) on the FAFSA rather than nicknames.
One of the most common mistakes on the FAFSA is when the Social Security numbers and dates of birth for the parents are not included. Leaving this information blank will cause the FAFSA to be rejected. If parents do not have a Social Security Number, use 000-00-0000.
Who Completes the FAFSA
Remember the FAFSA application assumes the student is completing the FAFSA. For example, if a parent is completing the FAFSA, remember that the word ‘you’ refers to the student.
Instead of leaving an income question blank, you should indicate a Zero.
Answers without Cents
Dollar amounts should not include cents. Do not indicate one hundred dollars as 100.00 as the FAFSA will read that 10,000.
This refers to the marital status (student and/or parents) at the moment the FAFSA is filled. If someone is separated but still married, then the answer to Marital Status should be ‘Yes’.
Most students under the age of 24 will have to indicate dependent status. Please read this portion of your FAFSA application carefully and call the Office of Student Financial Aid and Enrollment Services if you have additional questions or believe you qualify for independent status.
Number in Household and College
Read this part carefully and remember to include yourself as a person in college (you will be for the coming year!). If you are a dependent student and your parent is attending college, you cannot include your parent in the number in household attending college.
Errors Involving Taxes, Worksheets, and Assets
If you are eligible, use the IRS Data Retreival Tool (DRT) to automatically transfer IRS income information to the FAFSA. It's quick and easy! If you must fill in this information manually, be extremely careful with these areas. Read all information closely. This can be a confusing part of the FAFSA. If you have quesitons about how to fill some of these questions out, please feel free to contact us and we are happy to help.
On-Campus versus Off-Campus versus With Parents
The answer to this question will impact your financial aid award letter. Answer "On-Campus" if you intend to live at the University. Answer "Off Campus" if you intend to live away from your parent's household but not at the University. Answer "With Parents" if you intend to live away from campus but with a parent or relative.