Making mistakes on your FAFSA could delay your application and possibly make you lose out on valuable portions of your financial aid package. The most common errors people make are listed below. As you complete the FAFSA try to avoid these errors.
If you have a Bachelor's Degree from another institution you are not eligible to receive the Pell Grant or any other federal/state grants. You must indicate that you have your first bachelor's degree by answering "Yes" to the appropriate questions about your degree.
Number in Household
Include the number of people that you/your parents support and will continue to provide more than half their support during the award year. Include your unborn child if that child will be born before or during the award year. Also include your parents' other dependent children who will be attending post-secondary schools, and always include yourself, the student.
Number in College
Include only household members who will attend college during the award year at least six credit hours per term or 12 clock hours per week. Do not include your parents. Students must be working toward a degree or certificate leading to a recognized educational credential.
Adjusted Gross Income/Income Tax Paid Information
If possible, use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to populate income information. Otherwise, use your completed federal income tax return.
- If your responsible parent is remarried, you must include stepparent income and asset information.
- If you/your parents are married and filed separate income tax returns, income information from both tax returns must be combined and reported.
- If you/your parents are divorced, separated or widowed, don't include information about your/your parent's spouse (even if you/they filed a joint tax return).
When answering questions pertaining to parent/student assets, you must report the net worth (value minus the debt) of those assets as of the date you complete the FAFSA/Renewal FAFSA.
Report the net worth (value minus debt) of your (and spouse's) and/or parents' businesses and/or investment farms with 100 or more full-time equivalent employees.
Leaving blank fields: Enter a '0' or 'not applicable' instead of leaving a blank. Too many blanks may cause miscalculations and an application rejection.
Using commas or decimal points in numeric fields: Always round to the nearest dollar.
Listing incorrect Social Security Number or Driver's license number: Check these entries and have someone else check them as well. Triple check to be sure.
Entering the wrong federal income tax paid amount: Obtain your federal income paid amount from your income tax return forms, not your W-2 form(s). When reporting U.S. taxes paid, do not report the amount of tax "withheld" and do not include any self-employment taxes
Listing Adjusted Gross Income as equal to total income: These are not the same figure. In most cases, the AGI is larger than the total income. This mistake is particularly common.
Listing marital status incorrectly: Only write yes if you're currently married. If you're separated, you're considered married. They want to know what you're marital status is on the day you sign the FAFSA, or Renewal FAFSA.
Listing parent marital status incorrectly: The custodial parent's marital status is needed; if they've remarried, you'll need the stepparent's information too.
Leaving the question about drug-related offenses blank: If you're unsure about something, find out before you submit your FAFSA instead of leaving it blank. A conviction doesn't necessarily disqualify you from getting aid.
Forgetting to list the college: Obtain the Federal School Code for the college you plan on attending and list it — along with any other schools to which you've applied. EFSC’s Federal School Code is 001470.
Forgetting to sign and date: If you're filling out the paper FAFSA, be sure to sign it. If you're filing electronically, be sure to obtain your PIN from www.pin.ed.gov. Your PIN is your electronic signature and will always be assigned to you only.
Entering the wrong address: Your permanent address is not your campus or summer address.
Sending in a copy of your income tax returns: You will be contacted if your information needs verification; you don't need to send a copy of your tax returns in with your application.
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