If you’re interested in financial aid for school, the best way to get started is by filling out your FAFSA form. Once you’ve decided on a couple of schools (or just have one in mind!), filling out your form will allow you to send your family’s financial information along so that the financial aid department of your schools can put together a package of grants, scholarships, loans, and work study options that can help you pay for your education. But what happens when you need to make a correction or add additional information to your FAFSA form?
We’re glad you asked because in this article, we’re going to talk about:
- Why it’s important to correctly fill out your FAFSA
- What happens after you submit your FAFSA form
- How to make corrections to your FAFSA
- When to make updates or corrections to your FAFSA
Filling out Your FAFSA Correctly and Submitting It
When filling out your FAFSA form, make sure you have all the information you need to do it correctly
Filling out your FAFSA form is an important step towards financing your higher education. In order to do so correctly, you’ll have to have some information available before you sit down to fill it out. First, you and your parents will need to create a FSA ID in order to complete the application online. Your parents need to create their own ID if you’re a dependent student because they will need to sign off on the form as well before it is submitted. Then, you’ll need to gather some additional documents:
- You and your parents social security numbers
- Your driver’s license if you have one
- Your parents’ federal tax information
- Records on untaxed income
- Information on checking accounts, savings accounts, investments, and real estate
This information should allow you to get started on correctly filling out your form here. As we always emphasize, it’s important to start this process as early as you can. FAFSA applications are accepted from October 1st to June 30th for the next academic year. When you get your form submitted early, you not only can check it off your to-do list, but you may also potentially qualify for additional aid that is administered on a first come first serve basis. This is especially helpful if you’re hoping to land a work study job.
Once your form has been completed to the best of your knowledge and you’ve included all the schools (or at least one school) you wish to send your information to, then it’s time to electronically sign it and submit it.
What Happens After You Submit Your FAFSA?
Now that you’ve submitted your FAFSA form, what happens next?
Now that your form is completed and submitted, the schools you sent it to will get to work determining what amount of financial aid they can offer you. When it has been processed, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR), which is a summary of all the information you listed on your FAFSA form. You can review this report to determine whether or not everything is up to date and correct.
Your SAR will not list your financial aid amount, however. Your financial aid package is determined by using the total cost of attendance and subtracting your family’s estimated contribution. The information you listed on your FAFSA form will help your schools decide what kind of grants, scholarships, loans, or work study options they can give you as financial aid.
In some cases you might be asked to provide verification of the information listed on your FAFSA, so make sure you send the documents requested to the school by the deadline given. Verification is a normal process, some schools do it at random while others choose to request verification of all students, so don’t worry if you’ve been chosen to do so!
How Do You Make Updates or Corrections to Your FAFSA?
Not to worry, you can make corrections to your FAFSA form
Now that your FAFSA is submitted and processed you might feel like you can sit back and relax. While that’s entirely wrong, before doing that, we always recommend you take a second glance at your SAR and see if there are any mistakes. If there is something that’s incorrect, you might wonder how you can easily fix it. If you’ve already submitted your FAFSA and gotten your SAR, and you realize that there’s a mistake or that you need to make a correction, first of all, don’t panic! We all make mistakes and the FAFSA form is no different--it’s a good thing that you caught the mistake so it can be fixed.
If you find that you need to make a correction to your FAFSA that’s been processed, simply log into fafsa.gov using your FSA ID. From the My FAFSA page, navigate to Make FAFSA Corrections. From here, you can make any changes you need to ensure the information you’ve provided is accurate. Then, just save your changes.
You can also make any changes directly to your SAR report. Just print out a copy and hand write in the changes you need to make. Then just sign your SAR and mail it to the address provided on the form.
If you want to contact the school you’re applying to directly, reach out to their financial aid office and let them know you need to make a correction. In some cases schools may be able to make adjustments to your information from their end.
Making updates to your FAFSA when your information has changed
If you’ve reviewed your SAR and everything seems to be correct, that’s great! But what happens if the information you included on your FAFSA has changed? When filling out your FAFSA form, you’re asked to provide the information that is true on the day that you submit it. However, sometimes things change, which is why it’s helpful to know that you can make updates when important information changes. You can make updates to your FAFSA when:
- Your dependency status changes. If your dependency status changes, for example if you become pregnant or are now in a legal guardianship status. You do not update the FAFSA if your marital status has changed. Instead, you’ll reach out to the school’s financial aid office directly.
- If selected for verification and the household number has changed. If you’ve been selected for verification by your school and the number of people in your household has changed, you will need to update the FAFSA form.
- If selected for verification and the household number of people in college has changed. Again, only if you have been selected to provide verification, you are able to update the FAFSA form to reflect a change in the number of people in your household that are attending college.
After filing your FAFSA you might realize that you meant to add or delete a school on your list. You can easily do this from fafsa.gov by adding (or deleting) the school’s code. Keep in mind that only 10 schools can be listed on the form at one time.
Be aware that there are some items that cannot be changed on your FAFSA form when your situation changes. If there is a significant change to your parents’ income for example and you are a dependent student, you cannot change this on the FAFSA, but must contact the school’s financial aid office to inform them of this type of update.
When Can You Make Corrections to Your FAFSA if Your Information Has Changed?
When are you allowed to update or correct your FAFSA?
Whether there’s a mistake on your FAFSA form and you need to make a correction after you submitted it, or you want to ensure it includes the most up to date information, it’s important that you wait until your FAFSA form has been processed. This can take anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks to receive your SAR, which is a summary of all the information you included on your FAFSA. Once your FAFSA has been processed make sure to review the SAR and keep an eye out for any mistakes and where corrections are needed. If you have mistakes or need to add or delete a school or to your FAFSA, make sure that gets updated ASAP. You want the information that’s in your FAFSA to be as up to date and as accurate as possible!
If you need to make a correction to your submitted FAFSA, make sure it is processed before signing in to correct a mistake. Keep in mind that there is some information that cannot be adjusted on the form and you’ll have to contact the school’s financial aid office instead.
Hero image courtesy of The Guardian.