Common FAFSA Errors
Common Errors on Financial Aid Applications
Most errors are made because those applying either do not carefully follow or do not understand the application instructions. While few errors will cause you to start all over, many errors will significantly delay the processing of either the FAFSA at the federal level, your award at the Tennessee Tech level, or both. Please carefully read the instructions that come with the application. There are also additional FAFSA instructions provided by the Department of Education. If you do not clearly understand a question, please call your school. The few extra minutes could save you weeks of delays!
- Be sure to fill in every field according to the instructions on the FAFSA. The computer often reads a blank as an error. If you are unsure about the correct answer, ask!
- Make sure to use your legal name, as it is shown on your Social Security card. Put a zero (0) where the answer is zero.
- Make sure to write your Social Security Number and date of birth correctly.
- Read every question carefully.
- Answer "yes" to questions that inquire about your interest in different types of aid. This will not obligate you to accept any aid that is offered to you, but if you say "no," we will not offer that type of aid to you.
- Remember to count yourself as one of the people in your household who will be a college student in the award year. However, you may not count either of your parents as "number in college" even though they are included in the "number in household".
- If your parents are divorced or separated, the parent with whom you lived the most during the past year is the parent who should fill out the FAFSA. If this parent has remarried, your stepparent must report his/her income and assets on the FAFSA, even if they were not married during the previous year. Prenuptial agreements are not recognized.
- Finally, sign the form. Make sure all the necessary people have also signed the form (parents and paid preparers). An unsigned form will be returned and not processed. You should sign the form in blue ink.
- If someone other than you, your spouse, or your parents was paid to help you complete the FAFSA, that person must complete the "Preparer's Use Only" section.
- Do not include anything with the form when you mail it. If there are unusual family financial circumstances, you should contact the school's financial aid administrator to ask for a professional judgment review. Any enclosures with the FAFSA form will be destroyed. Likewise, do not write comments or notes in the margins of the form.
- Make a copy of the form before mailing it.
For more do's and don'ts, see www.finaid.org/fafsa/errors.phtml
To fill out the FAFSA online, see www.fafsa.ed.gov