How To Correct Or Change Your FAFSA

How To Correct Or Change Your Fafsa

Each year, approximately 19 million people complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the application you have to fill out to access most forms of financial aid, including grants and federal student loans.

With so many people completing the FAFSA—many of them teenagers applying on their own—mistakes happen. Whether you made an error or your information changed since you submitted your application, it’s important to update the FAFSA as soon as you learn of a mistake. Otherwise, you might not get all of the aid you deserve.

Below, learn about the FAFSA corrections process and update deadlines.

5 Reasons You Might Need To Make FAFSA Corrections

When you fill out the FAFSA, you’re certifying the information is correct as of the day you apply. However, some situations require you to make FAFSA corrections:

  • You made a mistake. If you made a simple mistake, such as checking the wrong box for your citizenship status, the error could affect your financial aid eligibility. To update your information, you must sign in to FAFSA.gov with your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID and correct the error by following the directions we’ve outlined below.
  • You entered the wrong Social Security number. You can correct your application by filling out a new FAFSA form. This approach is typically the quickest way to correct it. However, the date you submit the new FAFSA will change the day your application is processed. If you don’t want to submit a new FAFSA, you can contact each university’s financial aid office and ask them to correct your Social Security number.
  • You need to add or delete a school. If you decide to add different schools to your FAFSA, keep in mind that no more than 10 schools may be listed on the FAFSA at a time. When you add a school beyond that number, you need to select a college or university to delete. To add schools, log onto FAFSA.gov with your FSA ID. From there, you can access your FAFSA and change the list of schools.
  • Your dependency status changed. While uncommon, some people may experience a change in dependency status between submitting their FAFSA and receiving their financial aid. For example, a student who becomes an emancipated minor or enters into a legal guardianship is no longer considered a dependent student for the purposes of financial aid. The U.S. Department of Education considers the student to be independent. If your dependency status changes, you must log onto FAFSA.gov to update your information.
  • You filled out the FAFSA for the wrong academic year. Filling out the FAFSA can be confusing because there’s often overlap; you can fill out the FAFSA for two different academic periods for most of the calendar year. If you fill out the FAFSA for the wrong academic year, there isn’t an easy or quick fix. You can’t update the FAFSA you submitted. Instead, you’ll have to fill out an entirely new FAFSA for the correct academic year. If you need to submit a new FAFSA, make sure you complete it before the federal, state and school deadlines.

How to Make Corrections to FAFSA

If you made a mistake on your FAFSA, follow these steps to correct or update your information:

  • Log onto FAFSA.gov with your FSA ID
  • Select “Make FAFSA Corrections” on the page
  • Create a save key to access saved information
  • Update your information on the FAFSA
  • Submit your updated information

After submitting your FAFSA corrections, write the corrections on the Student Aid Report (SAR) you received after submitting your application. You need to mail the corrected SAR to the address listed on the form.

Next, contact the financial aid offices of each school you included on the FAFSA. Some changes cannot be updated in their systems electronically, so they’ll have to update it for you.

What If Information In My FAFSA Has Changed, But Can’t Be Corrected?

Some information might change after you submit your FAFSA. However, the FAFSA won’t let you update certain fields, such as your adjusted gross income. But you should speak to the financial aid office if there are substantial changes; it could mean you’re entitled to more aid than is outlined in your financial aid award letter. Examples of situations where it would make sense to contact the financial aid office include:

  • Your marital status changed. If you got married or divorced, that might affect your financial aid. Speak with your school’s financial aid office to update your status and see if an updated FAFSA is required.
  • You filed an amended tax return. If you used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when filling out the FAFSA, you can’t update your adjusted gross income. If you filed a 1040X amended return, contact your school’s financial aid office to discuss your options.
  • Your financial situation has changed. The FAFSA uses tax return information from two years prior, so your financial situation may be significantly different at the time of application. While you can’t update your income on the FAFSA, you can appeal the school’s financial aid decision. Not sure where to start? Here’s your guide to writing a financial aid appeal letter.

FAFSA Corrections Deadline

When it comes to FAFSA corrections, make any updates or corrections as quickly as possible. If you can, update your information as soon as you catch an error.

FAFSA corrections typically take three to five days to process, so the earlier you update your application, the better. Some forms of financial aid are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, so make any necessary corrections right away.

The FAFSA is due on June 30, but you have longer to make corrections. For the 2020-2021 academic year, the federal deadline for corrections and updates is Sept. 10, 2021. For the 2021-2022 academic year, all corrections and updates must be submitted by Sept. 11, 2022.

However, some states and colleges may have earlier deadlines. Check with your school’s financial aid office to find out when any updates must be submitted.

What Happens if I Miss the FAFSA Corrections Deadline?

Unfortunately, there may be cases where you miss the deadline to submit FAFSA corrections and updates, and you’re unable to change your information. As a result, you might receive less financial aid than you need to cover the cost of attendance. If that happens, follow these steps:

  • Call the financial aid office. If your financial aid won’t cover the full cost of your education, contact the financial aid office and ask for help with the cost. In some cases, the school might adjust your aid to include more institutional scholarships or grants.
  • Research scholarships and grants. While institutional aid can help, you also can apply for outside scholarships and grants. Unlike loans, scholarships and grants don’t have to be repaid, and you can combine multiple awards to reduce your education costs. Use resources like FastWeb and Scholarships.com to find potential financial aid opportunities.
  • Consider private student loans. If you’ve exhausted your other financial aid options, consider applying for private student loans. While they tend to have higher interest rates and fewer benefits than federal loans, they can be a useful tool to pay your remaining costs. Here are our picks for the best private student loan lenders.

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