Common FAFSA Mistakes

We all know applying for financial aid is challenging. There are many resources that can help you through the process and successfully apply. We can’t stress enough how important it is to be on top of filing your FAFSA accurately and on time.

If you have not already submitted, and are not sure how to get started, ask your counselor for a meeting. They can help you begin and also answer many of your questions. They may also know of virtual application completion events to help you with your financial aid forms.

Maximize your chances of receiving aid when filing out your FAFSA by avoiding these common mistakes:

  1. Not completing the FAFSA at all. Don’t make any assumptions about your ability to qualify for aid as the criteria used includes not only income but also family size. The FAFSA is used for federal work study, federal loans and even scholarships and grants. So if you don’t apply, you may miss out on the chance for the money you need to pay for college.
  2. Not requesting an FSA ID before filing out the FAFSA. Use your FSA ID to start your FAFSA when you sign in as either student, parent or preparer and use it again to sign your form electronically before submitting.
  3. Not submitting your FAFSA by the deadline. Fill out your form as soon as possible as some aid is granted on a first-come first-served basis. You must submit before your state and school deadlines.
  4. Not reading all the definitions carefully before working on the form. Many terms are not obvious so be sure you are clear on what information the FAFSA is really asking for.
  5. Not using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRT). Use the IRS DRT to quickly and accurately enter the required tax information directly from your family’s tax return. If you’re offered the “Link to IRS” option, use it.
  6. Entering incorrect information on the application. Proof read your application to confirm you have no typos.
  7. Not filing out all the required fields with the necessary information. Read through before submitting to be sure you have completed all fields as some may not have auto-filled if you used the IRS DRT.
  8. Not listing all the colleges/universities you are considering. You can list up to ten schools at a time. You application will not be negatively affected by adding schools since colleges can’t see the other schools you have on the form. If you apply to more than ten schools, follow the instructions on the form.
  9. Not signing the FAFSA form. You are required to use your FSA ID to sign and then submit the form and your parent is also required to do the same with their parent FSA ID.

You won’t know if you qualify for financial aid unless you apply. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to help pay for your college education. Apply now.

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