In your haste to fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), it's easy to make a mistake or leave out important information. But if you realize after the fact that you've made an error, all is not lost.
There are three ways to correct a mistake on you FAFSA form:
- Get in touch with the school.
- Update your information online, or
- File an appeal.
It is important, however, to make a correction as soon as possible to ensure you're eligible for aid that is dispersed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Here are your options for fixing a mistake on your FAFSA:
1. Contact the school's financial aid office first
If you think you've made a mistake or you get your financial aid award letter and the amount of aid is lower than you expected, the first thing you should always do is reach out to your school's financial aid office.
They have experts who can pull up your file and go through everything with you. They can also clarify specific questions if you are unsure about your answers.
2. Update your information online
If you do indeed need to make a correction, you'll need to log in to your FSA account and select "Make FAFSA Corrections" from the MY FAFSA page.
You're required to update the Department of Education if you have a change in dependency status.
If your school selects you for verification, you're also required to let them know about a change in the number of people in your household or if another member of your household changes their college enrollment status.
3. File an appeal
If the information on your FAFSA is technically correct, but you don't think it accurately reflects your household's financial situation and your ability to pay, you may want to file an appeal with your school.
Typically, you'll need to provide evidence that your FAFSA is not fairly representing your income, assets, or household situation. For example, if your parent loses a job and the income listed their tax return is much higher than their current income, you'll want to file an appeal.
Other potential reasons to appeal:
- Death in the family
- Serious illness
- Change in the number of people living or attending college in your household, or
- End of an income stream, such as alimony or rent from a rental property.
Remember: making a correction or filing an appeal is not a guarantee that you will get additional aid, but it can help your odds.
See also: How to Appeal Your Financial Aid Award