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Common FAFSA Errors to Avoid
Colleges begin their determinations on financial aid with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, so getting the form right is critical – and harder than you might think. Here are five common mistakes that people make on the FAFSA form, according to NBC News.
Not filling it out at all. The only way you can be sure you or your student won’t qualify for financial aid is to fail to fill out a form at all. The FAFSA form is used to determine eligibility for many kinds of aid not based on financial need, such as scholarships. It also is required if you want to get certain loans to help pay your student’s costs.
Filling out the wrong year. You need to submit the application for the year in which your student will be attending school. If you start the process early, you might choose the form for the current year – and that will not be accepted. And generally, you cannot submit the form before January of the year in which your student will be attending college. However, in 2016 the FAFSA for the 2017-2018 can be filed in October 2016.
Waiting too long to file. While the general deadline for filing is the end of June, your state or the college your student plans to attend may have an earlier deadline. You can check the deadline for your state of residence and for the individual school at which you are applying for aid at the FAFSA web site, www.FAFSA.ed.gov.
Reporting inaccurate information for a stepparent. In the case of divorced custodial parents who have remarried, the stepparent is required to provide information for the form as well so as to provide a clearer idea of the financial situation of the family with whom the student lives. Additional information is available on the FAFSA site.
Not double-checking the form. Before you submit the form, look it over. Re-do your math, and make sure you have entered the proper information in the proper place. Otherwise, your form might not be accepted or the amount of aid might be affected.