April 7, 2023

How to add schools to the FAFSA

Find out how to add schools to your FAFSA application and answer other frequently asked questions.

How to add schools to FAFSA

Have you already jotted down a list of schools that you might want to attend? If you haven’t yet, you should get started. 

As it turns out, that list is important for your Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

See, the government doesn’t just get your FAFSA and hand you money. You have to choose schools on your FAFSA so the government can forward them your aid information. Getting this right is important—forget a school, and they won’t be able to give you a good financial aid package based on your financial need.

Below, we’ll walk you through how to add schools to your FAFSA. Then, we’ll answer several frequently asked questions about editing your list of schools and other FAFSA matters.

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Choosing schools on FAFSA: The basics

The FAFSA lets you select up to 10 schools to send your data to.

Federal Student Aid — part of the Department of Education — calculates your aid eligibility with your FAFSA data, then sends a Student Aid Report (SAR) summarizing your FAFSA information to you and your chosen schools.

The colleges you listed use your SAR to put together your aid package.

That said, you want to figure out which schools you’d like to send FAFSA to as soon as possible, so you don’t miss the FAFSA deadline.

How to add schools to your FAFSA

Adding schools to your FAFSA is pretty easy. The main way is to do so online, but you can add more after filling out the FAFSA by phone or mail. 

How to Add Schools to FAFSA

Here’s how to add schools to the FAFSA online, step-by-step:

1. Find and select your high school

First, you’ll need to find and select your high school.

To do so, you’ll first select your state, province, or territory using the relevant dropdown.

After that, you can type in your high school’s city to help narrow the search faster, but that’s optional.

Alternatively, you can simply type in your high school name.

Click search, and FAFSA will present you with several schools. Find yours and select it by clicking the checkbox next to it.

2. Search for schools you want to add

After picking your high school, it’s time to look for the schools you want to add.

There are a few ways to look for these schools. 

You can search for them by relevant information, like name or location. The boxes and dropdowns look the same as the high school search.

However, if you know its federal school code, you can also type that in.

The FAFSA will pull up relevant school names, and then you can check the boxes next to each school you’d like to select.

3. Choose your housing plan

Next, you have to pick your housing plan because this can impact how much aid the FAFSA qualifies you for.

Each school you picked should have a dropdown box with housing options, such as “on campus” or “with parent.” 

Select the correct option for each school. If you aren’t sure at this point, do your best to give the right information. You may be able to correct these later if things change.

4. Add more schools if you’d like

At this point, you’re effectively done with adding schools to the FAFSA. However, if you want to add more, simply click “Add More Schools” and select additional schools using the directions laid out in Step 2 above.

5. Reorder your FAFSA schools list as necessary

Lastly, you can reorder the schools you selected on the FAFSA. 

This won’t impact your federal aid in any way. However, it can affect your state-based aid eligibility. 

For instance, some states may only consider you for aid if you put a school in that state within your top few choices.

Other ways to add schools to the FAFSA

You can add schools to the FAFSA by phone, mail, or at your school’s financial aid office if you need to add more after submitting.

To add schools over the phone, first, make sure you have your Data Release Number (DRN) from the FAFSA confirmation page or SAR. 

With that information, call the Federal Student Information Center, and they’ll help you out.

To add more schools by mail or at the financial aid office, you’ll need your paper SAR. 

However, you can only change up to 4 schools with a paper SAR.

Adding schools to the FAFSA: FAQs

Have more questions about adding, editing, or removing schools on the FAFSA?

Read our FAQs below about adding schools to your FAFSA

Why is adding schools to the FAFSA important?

When the government receives your FAFSA, they prepare a SAR that they send to you and every school listed on your FAFSA.

Schools ultimately put together your student aid package. If you don’t list a school, they won’t get the SAR. That means they won’t be able to provide you with the aid you need. If you change the original list of schools you’re applying to, make sure to add any new schools to ensure you can get sufficient aid.

I submitted my FAFSA already. Can I add more schools?

Students make errors on the FAFSA—including forgetting to add schools—all the time. 

Don’t worry because you’re allowed to correct these FAFSA errors and add more schools. 

Adding more schools after submitting FAFSA

As mentioned earlier, the easiest way to do so is online. You can log in and navigate to the “Make FAFSA Corrections” button. Click on that, and you can add more schools as needed.

You can also do so by phone by calling the Federal Student Information Center (with your DRN ready) or by mailing in a paper SAR.

How many schools can I add to the FAFSA?

You can add up to 10 total schools on your FAFSA when you’re initially filling it out.

However, you can add more after submitting.

First, wait until your SAR arrives. Once it does, you can add more than 10 schools using any standard FAFSA correction method.

For online, that means logging in, clicking “Make FAFSA Corrections,” and searching for more schools

Alternatively, you can call the Federal Student Information Center and ask them to add schools.

Does it cost money to add more than 10 schools to the FAFSA? 

Adding schools to your FAFSA is completely free whether you only stick with 10 schools or add more after you receive your SAR.

Just keep in mind that getting your SAR itself takes several days. Once you receive it and add more schools to your FAFSA, the government takes a few more days to process the changes and send your FAFSA to the new schools.

Does adding schools to the FAFSA as corrections after submitting affect FAFSA at any schools initially on it?

Adding more schools as corrections afterward doesn’t affect the existing schools. Only corrections that might affect your EFC will impact the schools you’ve already listed. 

The only impact of adding new schools is that the new schools added will now receive your FAFSA.

How long does it take to add schools to the FAFSA?

Adding schools to the list of colleges on your FAFSA doesn’t take all that long. You could probably fill all 10 schools out within 10 minutes.

That said, things can take longer if you need to do research on some of your schools to make sure you get the right ones listed.

If you’re making corrections to your FAFSA to add schools, it takes almost the same amount of time online. Doing so over the phone takes longer, especially if you’re put on hold.

How long does it take to update your list of FAFSA schools after correction? 

Once you make corrections to your FAFSA—such as adding schools—it generally takes 3-5 days for everything to be processed when you do so online.

When the government finishes processing your FAFSA corrections, they’ll send you an updated SAR with the correct information. They’ll also send this updated SAR to every school, including any new schools you added.

What happens when you remove a school from the FAFSA?

If you remove any schools from your FAFSA after submitting it initially, they’ll still have data from that first submission.

However, they won’t receive any new data if you make changes that could affect aid eligibility, such as changes that influence your EFC.

Does adding schools affect the FAFSA?

The number of schools you list on the FAFSA doesn’t matter. It doesn’t affect your aid eligibility at all. You can still qualify for federal student loans and other aid even if you add lots of schools to the FAFSA.

Aid is primarily determined by your Expected Family Contribution, a number the government calculates to approximate how much your family can contribute to your education. 

Each school’s cost of attendance, your year in school, and enrollment status also play parts in determining your final aid package at each school.

Does the order of schools on my FAFSA matter?

The FAFSA lets you reorder your chosen schools in any way you want. The order doesn’t matter for federal aid, but it can for state aid.

As mentioned, states may require you to put schools from that state among the top few choices to qualify for state-based aid. 

With that in mind, make sure you triple-check state aid programs in each state in which you’ve chosen a school. Weigh this against which schools you want to attend most to determine the best order of schools.

Does the FAFSA affect private student loans?

No, the information you list on your FAFSA won’t influence your ability to get private student loans. You’ll need to fill out applications with individual lenders if you choose to apply for private loans.

However, keep in mind that private loans are usually more expensive than government loans, so fill out your FAFSA and see what kind of federal student aid you can get before turning to private student loans.

Can filling out the FAFSA count against me?

No, filling out the FAFSA won’t hurt your chances of getting aid. The whole point of filling out the form is to receive financial aid from schools. You can also qualify for federal student aid programs based on the information in your FAFSA.

Some people may worry about their financial needs playing a role in their application to different schools, but most schools have need-blind admissions processes where your financial need won’t impact your ability to get into the school.

Will colleges confirm when they receive my FAFSA?

Once you submit the FAFSA, the federal government will process your application within 3-5 days (7-10 if by paper) and send you your SAR.

They’ll also send that to every college you selected.

After that, it’s up to the college.

Some send you confirmation they received your FAFSA, while others do not.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t qualify for aid at that school—they just might not send confirmation. You can always reach out to schools and ask them if they got your SAR.

Is there any reason to list fewer than 10 schools?

There’s basically no reason to list fewer than 10 schools. It costs nothing to add up to 10 schools and only takes a few minutes.

Even if you’ve included all your desired schools, do some extra research and list a few more. 

List at least 10 schools

You never know if your circumstances will change, and getting your information to more schools can make things smoother if you have to change which school you plan on attending.

What if you’re already in college and filling out the forms for your next year? 

It never hurts to list other schools in case you ever want to transfer. So, even if you’re a current college student, you can still list multiple schools on your application. 

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Adding schools to your FAFSA isn’t too hard—and luckily, you can change your list even after you send it in.

Still, it can take some extra time and creates more uncertainty when you have to change things after submission—so do your best to get your list right the first time.

Got more questions about financial aid in general? Check out our financial aid FAQs for some answers.

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