What NOT to do on the FAFSA

This week we’ve been talking about the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Today, we thought we’d share with you some pretty common mistakes that you don’t want to make when filling out the FAFSA.

  1. Going to the wrong website.
    The correct FAFSA website is www.fafsa.ed.gov. If you’re not sure if you’re on the right site, the homepage will look like this.
  2. Entering the incorrect social security number.
    It’s easy to do. One slip of the finger and whoops, it’s not you. Be careful and double check it before you submit the FAFSA. You might even have someone look over it for you.
  3. Confusing adjusted gross income with total income.
    Generally, the adjusted gross income figure is larger. But, if you’re not sure. Check with someone who would know.
  4. Leaving fields blank.
    Don’t do this. Depending on the specific field, if it doesn’t apply to you, fill it in with a “not applicable” or zero. 
  5. Saying you’re married when you’re single.
    If you’re not legally married at the time you fill it out – even if you’re engaged — make sure you list your marital status as single.  
  6. Not listing a college.
    Be sure to fill in the Federal School Code for the college or colleges you’d like to attend. Include the codes for all the schools you’ve applied it.
  7. Using inaccurate tax payment amount.
    You need to get the correct amount of federal income tax you paid from your income tax return, not your W-2 form.
  8. Not rounding to the nearest dollar.
    Round up on the FAFSA. Also, don’t use commas in any of the number fields.
  9. Leaving a blank because you’re afraid to answer.
     
    Some applicants are afraid that marking yes to the question asking about drug-related offenses will prevent them from getting aid. That’s not true. But, lying on the form about this issue can make you ineligible for aid.
  10. Providing incorrect parent information.
    If you’re biological parents are divorced but your primary guardian is remarried, you need to include the requested information about your stepparent.
  11. Not signing and dating it.
    Don’t forget to sign and date it.  If you’re doing it online, the PIN you have is the digital equivalent of a signature.

Still need more information? The Student Advisor blog has a free FAFSA Guide you can view.

Good luck. If you’ve been through this before and have some suggestions to share, just let us know.

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