The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a federal document that is used to offer you federal and state financial aid. This is an application and should be completed as carefully and accurately as you would when applying for a car loan, bank loan, driver's license, etc. Not only are you applying for tax dollars to assist you in paying for your education, you are also certifying information reported on the FAFSA is accurate.
Avoid some of the most common and time-consuming mistakes.
Social Security Card
Use your social security card to complete your name and social security number fields on the FAFSA. The following items are sent to the Social Security Administration and must match what you put on your FAFSA:
- Name (our office may require a copy of social security card if match fails)
- Social Security Number (our office may require a copy of social security card if match fails)
- Date of birth (our office may require a copy of birth certificate if match fails)
Student & Parent Information
The FAFSA collects both student and parent information for dependent students. It is important to answer each question using information for whom the question is referring to.
2024-2025 change: All students, parents (for dependent students), and spouses (for married students) will be identified as “Contributors.” Contributors will be anyone who contributes information to the FAFSA. Students will need contributors name, Social Security number, date of birth, and email address to invite them to complete their portion of the FAFSA. All contributors will need to have their own FSA ID, and will be required to enter their relevant information into the student’s FAFSA.
View a Checklist for completing your FAFSA
The IRS DRT is a tool that allows you (and your parents, if dependent) to access your tax return(s) on the IRS website as you complete your FAFSA on the Web and automatically loads your tax return data to the corresponding FAFSA fields.
2024-2025 change: As of the 2024-2025 FAFSA, the Direct Data Exchange (DDX) will replace DRT, and will import federal tax information (FTI) directly from the IRS into the FAFSA for each contributor. Each contributor must provide consent to transfer data from the IRS to the FAFSA for the student to be considered for financial aid.
Which Parent Do I Report on the FAFSA?
Am I Independent?
Your answers to questions on the FAFSA form determine whether you are considered a dependent or independent student. Visit studentaid.gov for more information on dependency status. Additional help from studentaid.gov. Some common scenarios are listed below for consideration.
- I have a child.
- You must provide more than half of your child’s support. For example: Your child needs $1,000 each month for food, clothing, shelter, etc. You provide 100% of your monthly earnings to pay towards the $1,000. If that amount is not equal to or greater than $501, you are not providing more than half of your child’s support and you are not able to answer the dependency question yes.
- My parents do not support me; I take care of myself.
- You must provide your parent’s information even though they don’t help you with your living expenses unless you were able to answer "Yes" to any of the dependency questions on the FAFSA.
- I don’t live with either of my parents.
- You must provide their information even if you do not physically live with your parents unless you were able to answer "Yes" to any of the dependency questions on the FAFSA.
If you are a dependent student, you and your parent must sign the FAFSA each and every time either you or your parent(s) make a change.
If either one of you forgets to sign again, your FAFSA will be rejected as incomplete and we cannot do anything with your information until both of you sign.
2024-2025 change: As of the 2024-2025 FAFSA, the term “consent” will be introduced, implying that the contributor completing that portion of the FAFSA has electronically signed and consented to their federal tax information being imported from the IRS and used to determine financial aid eligibility for the student.
The Department of Education considers the FAFSA to be a ‘snapshot’ of your family’s situation on the day that you originally file the FAFSA.
My Assets Changed Since I Filed the FAFSA
You cannot update asset information if the amounts were correct on the day you filed the FAFSA.
If you made an error on the FAFSA when you reported your assets (cash/savings, business or investment net worth), please complete the Asset Change form.
Corrections vs Updates
If the information you entered was correct at the time you completed your FAFSA, please do not update the information, even if there are changes that have occurred since then.
If you made an error when you reported your marital status information, please contact our office. Anytime you or your parent(s) make a correction, both of you must re-sign the FAFSA.
Fixing Common Errors
Always go by the exact name on your social security card.
Always check and double-check your social security number before you enter it on the FAFSA.
When filling out your date of birth, make sure you don't reverse the day and month of your birth (example: listing 7/6 when your correct birthdate is 6/7).