August 18, 2021
How to make corrections to your FAFSA application
FAFSA errors can cause you to lose out on aid if not fixed. Learn everything you need to know about how to make FAFSA corrections.
How to make corrections to your FAFSA application
A college degree isn’t cheap. And if you’re like most students, you’ll need financial aid to help cover those costs.
You should start the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)—a form that lets you access several financial aid options with just one application.
We know that this form can be tough to navigate, and mistakes happen.
If you’ve submitted your FAFSA and realize something was wrong or has recently changed, it’s not too late.
Luckily, you can make corrections to your FAFSA to ensure you get the most assistance possible.
Below, we’ll look at how to tackle common FAFSA corrections, along with other information you should know to make sure you get the support you need.
What is the FAFSA?
Every year, around 18 million students seek federal financial aid by filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. However, The FAFSA can be intimidating for new and returning applicants alike.
The FAFSA is a form you can fill out to determine their federal financial aid eligibility. It asks for a variety of information, mostly about your and your family’s finances, as well as the college you’re attending.
After completing the FAFSA, you’ll receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) that shows your answers to the FAFSA questions and explains your eligibility for financial aid.
It can be hard to understand how to answer every question the first time. Additionally, financial and general life circumstances change.
Because of this, plenty of students end up needing to make changes to their FAFSA each year.
How to make changes to your FAFSA
Errors on the FAFSA can delay your FAFSA processing and may cause you to lose out on financial aid.
If you need to fix errors or make changes, you should do so as soon as possible.
There are 3 types of adjustments you can make to your FAFSA after submitting it:
Changes: Generally, the only type of change you can make is adding or removing schools.
Corrections: You may need to correct certain errors on your FAFSA, such as a misspelling, incorrect Social Security number, or typo in your financial information.
Updates: If you go through any relevant changes to your life or financial situation—like a change in dependency status or address—you should make the appropriate updates on the FAFSA. Doing so helps you get the correct amount of aid.
With these in mind, here are some of the most common reasons students adjust their FAFSA information. We’ll also tell you how to make those adjustments.
Adding or changing schools
It’s recommended to submit your FAFSA before you finish all of your college applications, and you can list up to 10 schools on the application.
However, you may need to make some changes to the schools listed on your FAFSA after initially submitting it.
Fortunately, you don’t have to fill out a new form—just log into your Federal Student Aid account at fafsa.gov and add or remove school codes as needed. If you already have 10 listed, adding new codes will remove other ones.
Triple check that everything looks right to ensure your updated list of schools is on your most recent version of your FAFSA.
Changing the year
Selecting the correct year on the FAFSA can be confusing since the academic year (August-July) doesn’t line up with the calendar year (January-December). There’s overlap, so it’s possible to submit your FAFSA for 2 different academic years. This can lead to accidentally selecting the wrong year.
For example, you might submit the FAFSA for 2022-2023 by accident when you intended to submit it for 2021-2022.
Unfortunately, the FAFSA doesn’t let you simply change the year within the same form. You must fill out a completely new FAFSA for the correct year.
Fixing an incorrect Social Security number
You can’t do Social Security fixes through your Federal Student Aid account, but you do have a few other options.
For one, you can fill out a brand new FAFSA. This will change the date your application is processed—make sure that they’ll process your FAFSA in time to meet your desired schools’ financial aid deadlines.
If you want priority aid consideration and the priority deadline has passed, this isn’t a good option.
If you don’t want to fill out a new FAFSA or a deadline has passed, you should contact the financial aid office of each school on your SAR and tell them to update your Social Security number. That way, your original FAFSA date stays the same.
Lastly, you can make the edit on your paper copy of your SAR and mail it to the address listed on the form.
Updating your name
Whether you misspelled your name on your initial application or your name has since changed, there are ways to correct or update that information.
If you misspelled your name, you can do 2 things: either contact the financial aid office at each school you listed on your FAFSA and ask them to correct the error, or make the edit on your SAR paper copy and mail it.
If your last name has changed:
Update your name with the Social Security Administration
Update your FSA ID
Update your name on the FAFSA
Updating your household size
If your FAFSA is flagged for verification, you are required to update your household size.
You can’t update your household size after submitting the FAFSA unless it’s been flagged for verification. Being selected for verification simply means that the government wants further information to prove your financial situation in order to make sure you get the right amount.
Updating your household size includes adjusting 2 things:
The total number of people in your or your parents’ household
The number of those people that are attending college
For marital status changes that affect household size, how and when you can make that change differs on a school-by-school basis, according to studentaid.gov.
If your household size changed due to a change in marital status, you should contact each of your chosen schools’ financial aid offices to see if the change requires an update to household size.
For most other household size change cases, you can make the changes online at fafsa.gov.
Updating dependency information
Dependency status plays a big role in determining financial aid eligibility.
Dependent students must use their parents’ financial information, but independent students can use their own. Independent students usually get more financial aid since they usually make less than their parents.
Common situations that lead to dependency changes include getting pregnant, becoming an emancipated minor, or no longer relying on your parents to pay for school.
For dependency status changes, you should contact the financial aid offices of each of the schools you listed on your FAFSA to see if your dependency needs to be updated.
Updating other tax information
You may need to update your overall tax information as well.
Log in to your Federal Student Aid account and navigate to the “Financial Information” section and change your status from “will file” to “already completed.”
If you’re eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which pulls the info from your tax return straight from the IRS, you can click the ‘Link to IRS’ button and follow the steps to pull in your tax data. Otherwise, you can enter the appropriate information manually.
When is the FAFSA corrections deadline?
In general, the FAFSA corrections deadline is always about 3 months after the initial FAFSA deadline.
For the 2021 academic year, the regular FAFSA deadline was June 30 at 11:59 p.m. CT. The FAFSA corrections deadline for 2021 is Sept. 11 at 11:59 p.m. CT.
3 months sounds like plenty of time, but don’t wait—the sooner you get your FAFSA changes in, the faster you’ll receive an accurate reflection of your financial aid eligibility.
Also, some states and schools may have earlier corrections deadlines—check with your state and desired schools to be sure.
What happens if I miss the FAFSA corrections deadline?
If you miss the FAFSA corrections deadline, you may not receive as much financial aid as you qualify for.
In that case, you should call the financial aid office of your desired schools and see if they can offer additional aid.
On top of that, look into other scholarships and grants. Private student loans are also an option, but you have to pay them back, and they tend to have higher interest rates than federal loans—you should use them only after exhausting all other routes.
How long does it take for FAFSA to process my corrections?
Initial FAFSA processing time depends on how you submitted it. Here are some general time ranges to expect:
Online: 3-5 days
Mail: 7-10 days
Here’s what you can expect for correction processing times:
Online: 3-5 days
Mail: 2-3 weeks
By school: Varies by school
You’ll get an updated SAR once your new FAFSA has been processed.
Where do I make changes to my FAFSA?
There are several ways to make FAFSA corrections. Keep in mind that some methods might not work depending on the adjustment you need to make.
If you can do your corrections online, it’s the simplest option.
Here’s how you do so:
Log in to fafsa.gov with your FSA ID
Head to the ‘My FAFSA’ page and choose ‘Make FAFSA Corrections’
Make a new save key
Adjust your information
Submit your correction
Find your Data Release Number in your FAFSA confirmation email or on your SAR.
Call 1-800-4FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) to reach the Federal Student Aid Information Center and have your DRN ready.
You might have to use the mail to make some corrections.
Request a paper copy of your SAR by doing one of 2 things:
Online: Log into your Federal Student Aid account with your FSA ID, navigate to the ‘My FAFSA’ page, and click ‘View or Print your Student Aid Report (SAR)
By phone: Call 1-800-4FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) to reach the Federal Student Aid Information Center
Use your SAR to fill in your corrections and sign it
Mail the paper SAR to the address listed on it
Financial aid offices
You can also reach out to each of the financial aid offices of the schools listed on your FAFSA application to make the necessary changes. They’ll also be able to answer any questions you have.
If you already accepted an admissions offer or you’re a student, reach out to that school’s financial aid office.
Get the aid you qualify for
The FAFSA can be challenging to figure out, leaving many students to go back and make some changes.
Making these adjustments can be tedious, but it’s worth it if you want to maximize your financial aid eligibility and attend your top-choice college!
For more tips on navigating the student aid process and maximizing your aid eligibility, visit Mos.com.