Tips To Help You Avoid Common FAFSA Mistakes

We can’t stress enough how important it is to be on top of filing your 2023-24 FAFSA accurately and on time, if you haven’t already done so.

The US Department of Education has an excellent help section which will answer most of your questions and help you to avoid the most common FAFSA mistakes. Read through this list to make sure you maximize your chance of receiving financial aid.

  1. COMPLETE THE FORM. You don’t know if you will qualify for aid if you don’t complete the form. If you want to receive aid, complete the FAFSA as soon as possible as many states have limited funds that are distributed on a first-come basis. The FAFSA is also used to determine whether you are eligible for Federal Work-Study funds, federal student loans, and even scholarships offered by your state, school or a private organization.
  2. FILE IN TIME TO MEET THE DEADLINE. Fill out the FAFSA form as soon as possible, but you must submit before the earliest FAFSA deadline for the schools on your list. Each state and school has its own deadline. Make a list or spreadsheet to make note of deadlines so you do not miss any.
  3. SIGN UP FOR A FAFSA USERNAME AND PASSWORD BEFORE FILING. You and your parent each need your own ID to complete the form. It can take a few days to receive your ID after signing up, so take care of this immediately in order to begin your FAFSA.
  4. READ THE FORM CAREFULLY. The FAFSA form is requesting very specific information, so be clear on definitions and understand each question before responding.
  5. FILL IN CORRECT INFORMATION. Re-read each question to be sure you have not input incorrect answers. Don’t confuse your information with your parent(s)’. Make sure you enter your personal info such as your name, date of birth and social security number accurately on the form.
  6. FILL IN ALL THE REQUIRED INFORMATION. Make sure to complete all required sections relevant to you.
  7. USE THE IRS DATA RETREIVAL TOOL. If you’re filing a 2023-24 FAFSA , you must use federal tax information from your 2021 tax return. You can do this by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) which will automatically transfer tax information in a fast and accurate way. If you are eligible to use the tool you will be prompted to do so.
  8. FILL IN MORE THAN ONE COLLEGE. List all the colleges you are considering, up to 10 at a time. Each school will not see the other schools on your list.
  9. SIGN YOUR FAFSA. Be sure to use your FAFSA ID to sign.
  10. CHECK YOUR STATUS TO CONFIRM YOUR APPLICATION HAS BEEN SUCCESSFULLY SUBMITTED. Go to fafsa.gov and log in with your ID username and password.
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