It is finally time to fill out the 2024-2025 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Help your students receive the most accurate benefits by following our advice to make the process smoother.
10 Common FAFSA Mistakes:
Not Creating an FSA ID before Completing the Form
- An FSA ID is a username and password used to complete the FAFSA, make corrections, and electronically sign. Both students and parents require their own individual FSA IDs to submit information.
Not Giving Consent and Approval for Tax Information Transfer
- As part of the FAFSA Simplification Act, federal tax information for students will be transferred directly from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to the form. To be eligible for federal student aid, students or parents must approve and consent for the transfer. If consent isn’t given, students will not be eligible to receive aid.
Unsure Who FAFSA Form Contributors Are
- A contributor is someone who is required to share information, grant consent, give approval, and sign the FAFSA form.
- With the new FAFSA changes, contributors are determined by dependency, tax filing, and marital status. All contributors must have a StudentAid.gov account before starting the process.
Listing Only One College
- When students are not committed to applying to just one college, it is recommended that they list multiple colleges on the FAFSA. With the recent FAFSA changes, students have the option to add up to 20 colleges, career schools, or trade schools online. Some states take into account the order of the school list, and students may be required to rank a state school within their top three choices to qualify for state grants. To ensure eligibility, students should consider listing the state school they are most likely to attend as their first choice on the FAFSA form. It is important to check whether their state participates in the school ranking procedure.
Leaving Fields Blank
- Students should complete the form to the best of their ability and avoid leaving any fields blank. Leaving spaces empty or providing inaccurate information could lead to their applications not being processed.
Not Signing the FAFSA Form
- The last step to complete the form is signing, and this is something that many forget to do, causing their submission to fail. If students are filed as dependents, their parents’ signature is also required.
Not Filling Out the FAFSA
- Many students avoid completing the FAFSA due to perceptions of its difficulty, time-consuming nature, and doubts about their eligibility. Students often believe that receiving aid depends solely on income, but there are other factors to consider, such as family size and academic year. Even if students do not expect to receive a Pell Grant, the form helps with securing work-study funds, student loans, and scholarships. The FAFSA can be easily completed when directions are followed, and the help text next to each question is utilized.
Not Filling the FAFSA Out as Early as Possible & Missing the Deadline
- It’s always better to complete the FAFSA as early as possible. Some states offer limited financial aid grants on a first-come, first-served basis. Each state has its own deadline, so be sure to stay informed about it. The deadline for each state can be checked on Federal Student Aid. If students miss the deadline, they will not be able to apply for financial aid for that FASFA year.
Failing to Complete the FAFSA Annually
- Many students assume that completing the FAFSA once means the school has their information and that they do not need to fill it out again during their college years. However, after filling out the FAFSA once, students must continue to renew it each year, which makes the process shorter. If a student plans on transferring to a different school, the school should be included in the application.
Not Asking FAS for Help
- If your students are confused, don’t hesitate to call FAS. We are here to help you guide students and answer your questions. Our knowledgeable team is dedicated to ensuring that the financial aid process is as smooth as possible.