11 Common FAFSA Mistakes

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12 Common FAFSA Mistakes

11 Common FAFSA Mistakes

The 2016–17 FAFSA® is now available! The online FAFSA has gotten a lot easier over the last few years. Thanks to improvements like skip logic, where you only see questions that are applicable to you; and the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which allows you to import your tax information from the IRS directly into the FAFSA application, the FAFSA takes less than 30 minutes to complete. Just make sure to take your time so you don’t make one of these mistakes:

1. Not Completing the FAFSA®

I hear all kinds of reasons: “The FAFSA is too hard,” “It takes too long to complete,” I never qualify anyway, so why does it matter?” It does matter. By not completing the FAFSA, you are missing the opportunity to qualify for what could be thousands of dollars to help you pay for college. The FAFSA takes little time to complete, and there is help provided throughout the application. Oh, and contrary to popular belief, there is no income cut-off when it comes to federal student aid.

2. Not Using the Correct Website

The official FAFSA website is fafsa.gov. That’s .gov! You never have to pay to complete the FAFSA. If you’re asked for credit card information, you’re not on the official government site.

3. Not Getting an FSA ID Ahead of Time

We’ve made a big change to the FAFSA process this year in order to increase security. Students and parents can no longer use a Federal Student Aid PIN to log in and sign the FAFSA online. You must, instead, use the new FSA IDa username and password. Once you register for an FSA ID, you may need to wait up to three days before you can use it to sign your FAFSA. If you don’t want your FAFSA to be delayed, register for an FSA ID now. If you’re a dependent student, your parent will need to create an FSA ID too.

The key to making the FAFSA simple is being prepared. The process will go much smoother if you register for an FSA ID and gather everything you need to complete the FAFSA before you start the application.

4. Waiting to Fill Out The FAFSA Until After You File Taxes

Because some financial aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, it’s important to fill out the FAFSA early. However, the 2016–17 FAFSA is available beginning January 1, 2016, well before most people have their 2015 taxes filed. This, however, shouldn’t stop you from getting the FAFSA submitted. If your income from 2014 is similar to your income from 2015, you can use your 2014 taxes to estimate the financial information on the FAFSA and get it submitted now. You can then update the FAFSA after you file 2015 taxes, preferably using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.

5. Not Filing by the Deadline

States, schools, and the federal government each have their own FAFSA deadlines. To maximize the amount of your financial aid, you should fill out your FAFSA (and any other financial aid applications that may be required by your state or school), by the earliest of these three deadlines, if not sooner!

6. Not Reading Definitions Carefully

When it comes to completing the FAFSA, you want to read each definition and question carefully. Too many students see delays in their financial aid for simple mistakes that could have been easily avoided.

Don’t rush through these questions:

  • Your Number of Family Members (Household size): The FAFSA has a specific definition of how your or your parents’ household size should be determined. Read the instructions carefully. Many students incorrectly report this number.
  • Legal Guardianship: One question on the FAFSA asks: “As determined by a court in your state of legal residence, are you or were you in legal guardianship?” Many students incorrectly answer “yes” here. For this question, the definition of legal guardianship does not include your parents, even if they were appointed by a court to be your guardian. You are also not considered a legal guardian of yourself.

7. Inputting Incorrect Information

Here are some examples of common errors we see on the FAFSA:

  • Confusing Parent and Student Information: I know there are many parents out there who fill out the FAFSA for their child, but remember, the FAFSA is the student’s application. When the FAFSA says “you” or “your”, it’s referring to the student, so make sure to enter the student’s information. If we are asking for parent information, we will specify that in the question.
  • Entering the Wrong Name (Yes, I’m serious): You wouldn’t believe how many people have issues with their FAFSA because they entered an incorrect name on the application. It doesn’t matter if you’re Madonna, or Drake, or whatever Snoop Lion is calling himself these days. You must enter your full name as it appears on official government documents. No nicknames.
  • Entering the Wrong Social Security Number (SSN): When we process FAFSAs, we cross check your social security number with the Social Security Administration. To avoid delays in processing your application, triple check that you have entered the correct SSN. If you meet our basic eligibility criteria, but you or your parents don’t have a SSN, follow these instructions.
  • Amount of Your Income Tax: Income tax is not the same as income. It is the amount of tax that you (and if married, your spouse) paid on your income earned from work. Your income tax amount should not be the same as your adjusted gross income (AGI). Where you find the amount of your income tax depends on which IRS form you filed.

Tip: If you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, this number will be pulled for you, directly from your income tax return.

8. Not Reporting Parent Information

Even if you fully support yourself, pay your own bills, and file your own taxes, you may still be considered a dependent student for federal student aid purposes, and therefore, you’ll need to provide parent information on your FAFSA. Dependency guidelines for the FAFSA are determined by Congress and are different from those of the IRS. Find out whether or not you need to provide parent information by answering these questions.

Bonus: Who is my parent when I fill out the FAFSA?

Who's My Parent When I Fill Out My FAFSA? Graphic

Click to enlarge

9. Listing only one college

Two-thirds of freshmen FAFSA applicants list only one college on their applications. Do not make this mistake! Colleges can’t see the other schools you’ve added, so you should add ANY college you are considering to your FAFSA, even if you aren’t sure whether you’ll apply or be accepted. It doesn’t hurt your application to add more schools. If you’re applying to more than 10 schools, follow these steps.

10. Not Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool

For many, the most difficult part about filling out the FAFSA is entering in the financial information. But now, thanks to a partnership with the IRS, students and parents who are eligible can automatically transfer the necessary tax info into the FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. This year, the tool will launch on February 7, 2016. In most cases, your information will be available from the IRS two weeks after you file. It’s also one of the best ways to prevent errors on your FAFSA and avoid any processing delays.

Tip: If you used income estimates to file your FAFSA early, you can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to update your FAFSA shortly after after you file your 2015 taxes.

11. Not Signing the FAFSA

So many students answer every single question that is asked, but fail to actually sign the FAFSA with their FSA ID and submit it. This happens for many reasons, maybe they forgot their FSA ID, or their parent isn’t with them to sign with the parent FSA ID, so the FAFSA is left incomplete. Don’t let this happen to you. If you don’t have or don’t know your FSA ID, register for one. If you would like confirmation that your FAFSA has been submitted, you can check your status immediately after you submit your FAFSA online.

Nicole Callahan is a Digital Engagement Strategist at Federal Student Aid.

464 Comments

  1. I have 2 children who will be attending college this year. Do I fill one out for each child? Also, I am divorced from my children’s father. Both children reside with me. I had remarried, but am now separated. Whose income do I include?

    • Each individual student needs to complete their own FAFSA. Siblings cannot share a FAFSA. The student is the owner of the FAFSA, not their parent. There is a section for parents to fill out, but parents should NOT be completing the FAFSA on behalf of their child. Are you officially divorced? How you define your martial status does matter on your children’s FAFSA. This is what the FAFSA asks: https://fafsa.ed.gov/help/fotw01eF4c.htm

      If the parents are divorced or separated, how your children fill out the FAFSA depends on whether the parents live together or not. Details here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/parent-info#divorced-separated

      Also, the FAFSA has a feature that allows the student to transfer their parent’s information into a sibling’s FAFSA. This option will appear on the confirmation page, and the transfer will only work if the sibling has NOT started a new FAFSA yet. When the student gets to the final step, they have the option of transferring information to a brand new FAFSA (your other child’s). Make sure everyone has an FSA ID before you do this! Screenshot: https://www.facebook.com/FederalStudentAid/photos/p.936351556445977/936351556445977/?type=3&theater

  2. I had court ordered permanent legal guardian ship over my sister until she turned 18. Who does she list for parent info? Her parents are divorced and she lived with my husband and I since she was 10. Does she list our info. Thanks!

  3. Thank you for answering al the questions in such detail!!! You’ve answered almost every one I have except for these 2:
    1. As a parent do I have to have a FSA ID??
    2. My daughter took a break from her 4 year University this past semester (Junior) and attended community college. She is heading back next week and I don’t believe we heard anything form filing last year regarding this year. Should we file for this upcoming Spring semester or is that now closed and we can only apply for 2016-2017?
    Thank you for taking the time to answer everyones questions!!

    • 1. Yes, if your daughter is considered dependent, she will need a parent to sign her FAFSA.

      2. It depends on the college’s deadline for accepting the FAFSA. Each college and state have different FAFSA deadlines. Even if she missed her school deadline, she can still qualify for federal financial aid!

      3. FYI, the 2016-17 FAFSA covers July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. If your daughter is considering going to school next fall, she should renew her FAFSA now.

      Sorry we didn’t answer this sooner!

  4. My daughter will be a junior next year. I have filled out the fafsa for the past two years. I am wondering what to do this year. Do I have her get the id and have her tell me what it is so I can fill in the info? She is out of state, so we cannot do it together.

  5. I want to file my FAFSA as soon as possible but our income is very different from last year. In January of 2015 my mom quit working and became a stay at home mom so our income is different, what do i do in this case? should I wait until we do get our tax returns then?

    • Every year. The FAFSA is an annual application. The 2016-17 FAFSA covers July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. You must complete it each school year. If you completed the FAFSA last year, a lot of your info will roll over. However, it’s important to know that our log in process recently changed. Make sure you get an FSA ID before you start the FAFSA. Learn more: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/fsaid

  6. Grandchild lives with my husband and myself. Is claimed on our taxes. His parents are divorced. Who does he list as parent on application?

  7. My husband and I are separated and will be divorcing. We are filing taxes separate. Does the person claiming her have to fill out her fafsa or the person she lives with the most?

    • Who claims your daughter on their taxes doesn’t matter for the FAFSA. Our dependency requirements are different from the IRS. If her parents are separated and don’t live together, she will answer the questions about the parent with whom she lived more during the past 12 months.

      If she lived the same amount of time with each separated parent, she will give answers about the parent who provided more financial support during the past 12 months or during the most recent 12 months that she actually received support from a parent.

      Details: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/parent-info#divorced-separated-living-apart

    • Every year. The FAFSA is an annual application. The 2016-17 FAFSA covers July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. You must complete it each school year. If you completed the FAFSA last year, a lot of your info will roll over. However, it’s important to know that our log in process recently changed. Make sure you get an FSA ID before you start the FAFSA. Learn more: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/fsaid

  8. Has the IRS data retrieval tool been improved? I used it on my son’s FAFSA two years ago. My husband and I had both rolled over IRAs that year and the IRS data retrieval tool counted them as income, greatly increasing our EFC. It took me 6 months to straighten it out and by that time his school was out of grant money. Very frustrating. I have avoided using it the past couple years.

    • Sorry you had a bad experience with the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. We will pass this information along.

  9. My son just requested his Id and password. My question is : do I have to request my ID after he has done his or can I go in and request one NOW?
    How do I sign in?
    Gloria

    • You don’t have to wait. You can get your own FSA ID now. After your son completes the “Student” section, you can complete the “Parent” section of his FAFSA. You can complete the FAFSA now even if you haven’t filed taxes yet. Just select “will file” and use 2014 tax info to estimate the financial information. Make sure both of you sign and submit the FAFSA with your FSA IDs. Then, once you file 2015 taxes, log back in and update your son’s FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Detailed instructions: https://fafsa.ed.gov/fotw1617/help/fotwfaq68.htm

  10. I am remarried after my son’s father past away. I was confused on how to choice the correct answer. Widowed or remarried? We file joint taxes, even though I have no income.

    • Select “Remarried.” Even though you file taxes jointly, you must report your information separately. You can designate yourself to be “Parent 1” and your spouse to be “Parent 2” for example.

  11. My husband and I have been separated for 5 years but still file our taxes together. I have the children full time. How do I file?

    • Your child will be completing the FAFSA and there will be a question about the marital status of their parents. Even though you are separated, you’re still considered married for FAFSA purposes. Your child will report financial information from the parent they have lived with more during the past 12 months – in this case, that’s you. Details: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/parent-info#divorced-separated-living-apart Even though you file taxes jointly, you must report your information separately.

      Then, when it’s your turn to complete the “Parent” section of the FAFSA, there’s a question where you can select that you are separated.

  12. My son lives with me but is claimed as a dependent on his father’s tax return. How will this affect the fafsa application. Will I be the “parent” and use my and my husband’s income?

    • Who claims your child on their taxes doesn’t matter for the FAFSA. Our dependency requirements are different from the IRS: http://studentaid.ed.gov/fafsa/filling-out/dependency#am-i-dependent-or-independent

      Are you separated? There are different ways your son can answer the question about his parent’s marital status. View this page for more information: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/parent-info Keep in mind that even though your son lives with you, if he is still financially supported by his father, then BOTH parents need to report their information on his FAFSA.

      • Billy,

        Your son should use the parent who provided most of his support during 2015. If it was you, even if his father claimed him, then he must include your information and the information of your current spouse, if you’ve remarried. If your son’s father provided more than half of his support in 2015, then his father’s information along with his father’s current spouse’s information, if applicable, should be entered on the FAFSA.

  13. When we were filling out the FAFSA it asked for the 2015 income that has been filed. It gave us the option to go back and amend the totals after we file our 2015 income taxes but at the end it still wanted 2015 numbers put it in. We stopped and saved at this point since we haven’t filed 2015 yet. What should we do to complete the submittal process before filing 2015 taxes? Do we enter 2014 numbers and revise after filing 2015? Any help would be greatly appreciated? Thank you!

    • Yes. You can complete the FAFSA now even if you or your parents haven’t filed taxes yet. Just select “will file” and use 2014 tax info to estimate the financial information. Make sure you sign and submit with your FSA ID. Then, once you/your parents file 2015 taxes, log back in and update your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Detailed instructions: https://fafsa.ed.gov/fotw1617/help/fotwfaq68.htm

  14. What if my mother doesn’t have a social security number, does she still need to make an fsa id and sign?

  15. I made a new username and password last month without problems. When my son attempted to change his we kept getting message that this email address was already in use. We attempted to edit but will this update to new password and username since he had a pin last year ?

    • The PIN and FSA ID are completely different. Did your son even create an FSA ID yet? Having a PIN does not mean you have an FSA ID. The FSA ID is new as of May 2015. Make sure he is typing in his email correctly. If he registered for an FSA ID and typed in his email address, there should be a message in his inbox about validating his FSA ID email. This is why it says his email is already in use.

  16. If my husband and I fill separate why does it use both our income. That has hurt me in the last two years. I receive no grants at all because of it. Now I’m over my Federal Student Loan limit. That grant would really help me out.

  17. My daughter is a junior so I realize she can complete the FAFSA in fall 2016 with my 2015 tax income. Her father and I are divorced…. what income of his and when will we need that for financial aid consideration. Or is that up to each individual school she applies to?
    Also, with the earlier date, do we go online in early 2017 and update income with 2016 tax income when they are done?

    Thanks!

  18. I really don’t care for the FSA ID that this was changed to. I had to deal with it last year when my daughter and I were getting things done for her and it was crazy ridiculous to get it set up. One for her..one for me. I prefer the pin set up. Much easier for this end of things…

  19. Well I’m really confused now….since there is no more pin # used do you sign on as if you’ve never filled out the form before? When going to the website it says start a new Fafsa or Login…what are you suppose to do?
    My child is still getting her gen ed’s completed at a community college so we have never used this before even though we’ve filled one out. I’m not sure when she will be going to a university at this point, maybe late this year or next, not sure how all this works anymore! but I guess what your saying is it doesn’t matter, we should be filling this out Now. She should fill one out and I need to fill one out. Thank You

    • It doesn’t hurt to complete a FAFSA because it’s free, even if your daughter is in community college! The FAFSA is an annual application. The 2016-17 FAFSA covers July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. Your daughter must complete it each year she plans to be in school. If she completed a FAFSA last year, a lot of her info will roll over. However, it’s important to know that our log in process recently changed. Make sure your daughter gets an FSA ID before she starts the FAFSA. If she’s considered dependent, one of her parents will need an FSA ID too. That’s how you sign her FAFSA, with your FSA ID. Learn more: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/fsaid

  20. My daughter is a senior this year and my husband just lost his job. When we fill out the FAFSA Won’t they be asking for income from 2015? How does that work when so far the only income for 2016 will be unemployment ?

  21. I filled out the FAFSA for my daughter the week before Christmas. Do I need to fill it out again now that January 1 has passed?

    • If your daughter will be attending college from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, she needs to submit a 2016-17 FAFSA. The FAFSA is an annual application that covers one academic year. The 2016-17 FAFSA was available on January 1st, which means you submitted a 2015-16 FAFSA. You can click “Login” from http://fafsa.gov and begin a 2016-17 FAFSA. A lot of your demographic info will roll over.

  22. My daughter is a senior in high school and will be attending our local community college for two years and then transferring to a 4 year school. We will be paying for the community college so do I start her fafsa two years from now when we will be in need of more assistance? Or now? Thank you.

    • You never know what aid you may get unless you file! Your eligibility for financial aid is based on a number of factors, and that might change each year: https://studentaid.ed.gov/fafsa/next-steps/how-calculated. Plus, many states, schools, and private scholarships require you to submit the FAFSA before they will consider you for any financial aid they offer. Fill out the application and find out what you can get: http://fafsa.gov. Only takes about 30 minutes!

  23. My daughter is starting her second semester as a freshman in college on January 24, 2016. When do I need to fill out the FAFSA form for this semester, or is that included in the one I filled out last January 1?

    • You don’t have to do it every semester, the 2015-16 FAFSA includes this semester. The FAFSA is an annual application and your daughter must complete it each school year. Since she completed last year’s FAFSA, a lot of her demographic info will roll over. The 2016-17 FAFSA covers July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. States, schools, and the federal government each have their own financial aid deadlines. You should check ALL your deadlines and apply by the whichever date comes first: http://fafsa.gov/deadlines.htm ASAP is always best because some financial aid is first-come, first-served.

  24. Our third child will be a Junior and we have done this process many times. And with everything else, it had been made MORE complicated by the government by changing from a PIN to an new ID. We both made one last year, but it isn’t accepting either mine or my daughters. How do you reset this or request a new one?

  25. we are beginning the process now. To log on for me, parent, it says to enter my daughters info (student & ss#) then it says ” hello name” IS THIS THE RIGHT SITE FOR ME TO START THE PROCESS and Does my daughter fill out on the site that I’m working on OR does she fill a separate one?

    • There is no such thing as a parent log in. The student is the owner of their FAFSA. If it says “STUDENT” on the left side, then your daughter fills it out. When it says “PARENT” on the left side, that is for you to fill out. Your daughter can create a “Save Key” to share her application with you. This allows you to access her application and add your financial information. Remember to sign your daughter’s FAFSA with your FSA ID. The FSA ID serves as an electronic signature. https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/fsaid

  26. My husband and I have joint custody but my son lives full time with his dad. When he fills out the forms does he use both of our incomes?

  27. I don’t work, but my husband does. I did create a FSA ID for myself for use in completing our daughter’s application. Do I need to create a separate FSA ID for my husband as well as he is the one whose income is being entered? We do use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when completing the FAFSA.

  28. My daughter filled here FAFSA and created her FAFSA ID, signed electronically and submitted the FAFSA, however as here parent I am unable to create a FAFSA ID since it requires a SS no and I don’t have one (I am not a US citizen, but my daughter is). How can I (the parent) sign electronically ? or do I have to print the signature page, sign and mail it ? Please advise ?

    • You can print a signature page since you cannot get an FSA ID without a Social Security number.

  29. My daughter is going on to her second semester. At anytime am I as the parent needed to log on to enter any of my information for the 2016-17 financial aid? I thought I had done that when I first filed last year but now I don’t remember.

    • The FAFSA is an annual application. The 2016-17 FAFSA covers July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017. Your daughter must complete it each school year she plans to be in school. If you completed the FAFSA last year, a lot of your info will roll over. However, it’s important to know that our log in process recently changed. Make sure both you and your daughter get an FSA ID before you start the 2016-17 FAFSA. Learn more: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/fsaid

  30. I tried to get my FSA id # for my daughter and it says it’s been completed but we haven’t done that. Tried to go in and reset it and it wouldn’t work. What should we do?

    • If your child will be attending college from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, they need to submit a 2016-17 FAFSA. The FAFSA is an annual application that covers one academic year. The 2016-17 FAFSA was available on January 1st, which means you submitted a 2015-16 FAFSA. You can click “Login” from http://fafsa.gov and begin a 2016-17 FAFSA. A lot of your demographic info will roll over.

  31. How do I complete parent information if my mom is remarried. I put that my biological parents are divorced and received and error when I said she filed taxes married jointly.

    • If you have a stepparent who is married to the legal parent whose information you’re reporting, you must provide information about that stepparent as well. You cannot include three parents’ information on your FAFSA (your biological mom, dad, and new stepparent) which is probably why you received a FAFSA error. Details here: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/parent-info

  32. Can we file with the “estimated” choice if our income is going to be substantially lower than the previous year?

  33. I am currently separated and have been for all 2015. My son lives with me and I provide the vast majority of support. Do I need to include both parents info on the FAFSA and is it best to file taxes as “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately”?

    • If his parents are divorced or separated and don’t live together, he will answer the questions about the parent with whom he lived more during the past 12 months. In this case, that is you, so he will include your financial information only. More info: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out/parent-info

      As for your question about filing taxes, that is an IRS question, not FAFSA.

  34. My son worked this summer at the Y and made like 900.00 this summer. Should I included this on his FAFSA?

    • Yes, if your son gets a W-2 from his employer which means he’ll have to file 2015 taxes. He can complete the FAFSA now and update it with 2015 tax information later after he files.

    • To check the status of your FAFSA, click “Login” on http://fafsa.gov. Your status can be found on the “My FAFSA” page, which displays immediately after you log in if you have already started or completed a FAFSA.

      To check on the status of financial aid being disbursed to you or your account, check with the financial aid office at your college.

  35. My income will be different from my 2014 tax return but I want to go ahead and fill out the Fasfa so I don’t get it in too late can i go ahead and do it? And make changes after I do my 2015 filing

    • Yes. You can complete the FAFSA now even if you or your parents haven’t filed taxes yet. Just select “will file” and use 2014 tax info to estimate the financial information. Make sure you sign and submit with your FSA ID. Then, once you/your parents file 2015 taxes, log back in and update your FAFSA using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. Detailed instructions: https://fafsa.ed.gov/fotw1617/help/fotwfaq68.htm

      If your 2015 income was very different from your 2014 income, use the income estimator (available from within the FAFSA) to estimate financial information instead of 2014 taxes: https://fafsa.ed.gov/fotw1617/help/fotwfaq68.htm, that way you can still submit your FAFSA early and your income estimates will be accurate.

  36. 2 Questions:

    1. May high school juniors go ahead and get a FSA ID?
    2. Is there a department I can contact to see about a financial aid representative come speak for an event regarding the 2017-2018 FAFSA?

  37. Our income changed quite a,large amount from last year to this year. Is it still alright for us to fill this out in January even if this year’s amounts will be much different than last year’s?

  38. My daughter will be graduating college this year but continuing her education to get her master’s degree, does she fill out the FAFSA for herself for this or do I as her parent have to do this too?

  39. The FAFSA is a huge waste of time. We believed this nonsense the first year. It took about 2-1/2 hours to complete the FAFSA the first time my oldest went to college. He did not qualify for any aid. It only took 2 hours the second year, plus another 1-1/2 hours for child number two. That is ridiculous! It should be as simple as parents clicking a “add another student” button to transfer all information to the second/third/fourth child’s account without having to re-enter everything! Maybe someday they’ll improve the process, but if you make a decent living, spend those couple hours doing something fun/productive instead of wasting time on the FAFSA.

  40. My son submitted his FAFSA yesterday 1/2/16, however, it allowed him to sign, but kept telling me the parent that this was an error, I changed my password to make sure and on my profile it stated my email address had been verified… I worked at it for two hours and finally sent it with just his electronic signature and he got email saying Congratulations your application has been submitted. What should I do as the parent of my 17 year old son who desperately needs federal assistance… Thanks for any advise you can offer

    • Hi Tammy. Did you get an error while trying to sign your son’s FAFSA using your FSA ID? Are you sure that the Social Security number on your FSA ID has been matched? Maybe that is why you were getting an error. If your son is considered dependent, his FAFSA is NOT completed unless one of his parents has signed it successfully. Remember, you need two FSA IDs to electronically sign his FAFSA: one is the student’s (your son) and one of his parents (yourself).

    • Double check his dependency status, there is a chance that he answered yes to one of the questions that determine that status such as the grade level for next year (Grad students are independent), whether he is married, whether he supports anyone else or whether he is a veteran/active duty military. If those are answered yes he will be asked to sign it himself and your information is not needed. This would be under the personal information section. Check his application status and make corrections as needed by logging into the FAFSA website under returning user. It will give you his most recent status and you can make corrections there

    • I also had this problem last year. Took me days and then my daughter had to take it to school to final finish it. I hope this year I don’t have this problem.

  41. I think my daughter and I mixed up the parent info. Where as we put mothers name in as 1st with the tax income and then we accidently put in parent 2 (fathers name) as no income. It should have been the other way around. Do I need to correct that?

    • Hi Kathi. Yes, you can (and should) make corrections to your daughter’s FAFSA. Did you already sign and submit it? If so, you’ll need to wait for the FAFSA to process before you can make any changes. That usually takes 1-3 days. If you have not signed and submitted the FAFSA, you can log in and make corrections at any time. Remember, it’s OK to make corrections after you submit it.

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