The best way to fill out the FAFSA, Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is early and online. If you apply online, your application will likely be processed faster and be more accurate since it’s being filled out on the FAFSA website. Making mistakes on your FAFSA could delay the processing of your application, and possibly make you lose out on available financial aid.
Avoid these common mistakes:
- Listing the incorrect Social Security Number or driver’s license number. Double-check to make sure you have entered the digits and letters in the correct order.
- Using decimal points or commons in numeric fields. Don’t use them, and instead always round to the nearest dollar amount.
- Forgetting to list your college. You need the Federal School Code for the college you plan on attending and list it, along with any other schools you’ve applied to.
- Leaving blank fields. Enter a ‘0′ or ‘not applicable’ instead of leaving a blank field, since too many blanks may cause miscalculations and/or an application rejection.
- Listing Adjusted Gross Income as equal to total income. These are not the same figures, and in most cases the AGI is larger than the total income.
- Entering the wrong federal income tax paid amount. You need to obtain your federal income tax paid amount from your income tax return forms – NOT your W-2 form(s).
- Listing marital status incorrectly. They want to know what your marital status is on the day you sign the FAFSA, so only say yes if you are currently married.
- Listing parent marital status incorrectly. They want to know your custodial parents’ marital status, and if they remarried, you’ll need the stepparent’s information too.
- Leaving the question about drug-related offenses blank. If you are unsure of something, find out before submitting the FAFSA rather than leaving it blank. A conviction doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from getting aid.
- Forgetting to sign and date. If you’re filling the FAFSA electronically, make sure to obtain your PIN from www.pin.ed.gov. Your PIN acts as your electronic signature and will be assigned to you only. If you’re filling out the paper FAFSA, be sure to sign it.
Don’t miss out on financial aid from the federal government simply because you filled out the FAFSA incorrectly, or made one of the above mistakes. Double-check your application and more importantly – don’t miss the deadline!
Read More: EducationGrant.com: Common FAFSA Mistakes