The FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is a federal document that is used to offer you federal and state financial aid. This is an application and should be completed as carefully and accurately as you would when applying for a car loan, bank loan, driver's license, etc. Not only are you applying for tax dollars to assist you in paying for your education, you are also certifying information reported on the FAFSA is accurate. 
Avoid some of the most common and time-consuming mistakes.


Social Security Card

Use your social security card to complete your name and social security number fields on the FAFSA. The following items are sent to the Social Security Administration and must match what you put on your FAFSA:
  • Name (our office may require a copy of social security card if match fails)
  • Social Security Number (our office may require a copy of social security card if match fails)
  • Date of birth (our office may require a copy of birth certificate if match fails)


Student & Parent Information

The FAFSA collects both student and parent information for dependent students.  It is important to answer each question using information for whom the question is referring to.



View a Checklist for completing your FAFSA


IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) to Complete FAFSA

The IRS DRT is a tool that allows you (and your parents, if dependent) to access your tax return(s) on the IRS website as you complete your FAFSA on the Web and automatically loads your tax return data to the corresponding FAFSA fields.


Which Parent Do I Report on the FAFSA?


Am I Independent?

Your answers to questions on the FAFSA form determine whether you are considered a dependent or independent student.  Visit studentaid.ed.gov for more information on dependency status.  Some common scenarios are listed below for consideration.  



If you are a dependent student, you and your parent must sign the FAFSA each and every time either you or your parent(s) make a change.

If either one of you forgets to sign again, your FAFSA will be rejected as incomplete and we cannot do anything with your information until both of you sign.



The Department of Education considers the FAFSA to be a ‘snapshot’ of your family’s situation on the day that you originally file the FAFSA.



My Assets Changed Since I Filed the FAFSA

You cannot update asset information if the amounts were correct on the day you filed the FAFSA.

If you made an error on the FAFSA when you reported your assets (cash/savings, business or investment net worth), please complete the Asset form.


Corrections vs Updates

If the information you entered was correct at the time you completed your FAFSA, please do not update the information, even if there are changes that have occurred since then.

If you made an error when you reported your marital status information, please contact our office. Anytime you or your parent(s) make a correction, both of you must re-sign the FAFSA.


Common Errors

The FAFSA asks for basic student demographic data such as your name, date of birth and social security number.  Sounds simple, right?  The problem is, students don’t always go by the name on their social security card.  Or they may not check their social security number before they enter it on the FAFSA and then they end up transposing numbers or putting in wrong numbers.  When filling out their date of birth, sometimes students reverse the day and month of their birth, like they enter 7/6 when their correct birthdate is 6/7.


Academic Year

  • File the 2020-2021 FAFSA if you plan to attend Fall 2020, Spring 2021 or Summer 2021.
  • File the 2021-2022 FAFSA if you plan to attend Fall 2021, Spring 2022 or Summer 2022.