The priority deadline
is February 1 for submitting your FAFSA.
This doesn’t mean you can’t submit your FAFSA on February 2.
In fact, you can submit your FAFSA any day throughout the academic year. Remember
that the sooner you submit your FAFSA, the sooner you know how much financial
aid you can receive for the upcoming school year.
Don’t delay filling out the FAFSA because you think it’s too
painful or difficult. Avoid these five common FAFSA mistakes so that you receive
your financial aid sooner.
Mistake #1: Not
Completing The FAFSA
Not completing the FAFSA means missing the opportunity to
qualify for loans, grants and even scholarships to help pay for your college
degree costs now.
Don’t tell yourself that filling out the FAFSA is too hard
or that it takes too long to fill out. Contrary to popular belief, it takes an average
of 25 minutes to fill out the FAFSA. Practice filling out the FAFSA with this
“FAFSA on the Web” worksheet found at fafsa.edu.gov until you feel comfortable
filling out the official form.
Mistake #2: Not
Having Your Documents
Save yourself time by having all the documents you need
before you sit down to fill out the FAFSA. Gather your:
- School code
- Social Security card
- Driver’s license
- Federal tax information from last year
- Records of untaxed income
- Information on other assets, including investments, savings and
Mistake #3: Not
Reading The FAFSA Carefully
The FAFSA is an official government form. You must enter
your information as it appears on your official government documents, such as
your Social Security card or your birth certificate.
Simple mistakes can lead to lengthy delays in receiving your financial aid. Try
not to rush through the questions on the FAFSA form, including:
- Your Household Size: The FAFSA has guidelines on how to define your
household size or your parents’ household size.
- Your Income Tax Amount: This refers to the amount of money
you paid on your income earned from your current employment, not how much you
- Your Legal Guardianship: The definition of legal
guardianship does not include your parents, even if they were appointed by a court to be
- Your Name: You must enter your name as it appears on
official documents. No abbreviations or nicknames.
- Your Social Security Number (SSN): The entered SSN is
cross-checked with the Social Security Administration. To avoid financial aid
delays, check that you entered your SSN correctly.
Mistake #4: Not
Reporting Your Parents’ Information
Even if you pay your own bills, file your own taxes and
support yourself fully, you may still be considered a dependent student for
federal student aid purposes. Find out if you need to provide your parent(s)
Mistake #5: Not
Signing The FAFSA
Just as it’s important to answer every question on the
FAFSA, it’s necessary to sign the FAFSA with your PIN when you submit the form.
Whether you forgot your PIN or you don’t have a parent present to enter the
parent PIN, the FAFSA is left unsubmitted without this verification.
To verify that your FAFSA has been submitted, you can check
your status immediately online.
Ready to fill out the FAFSA? Follow these instructions.
Need assistance? Contact your university’s Office of
Scholarships and Financial Aid to help you as well as answer any
questions about the FAFSA.
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