You might have to answer up to 130 questions on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Getting them all right the first time is no easy feat. If you make a mistake, or if something changes in the many months following the FAFSA submission date, you can easily make changes. However, always answer the FAFSA truthfully, since knowingly providing wrong information and benefiting from it can result in stiff consequences.
Reasons to Amend
You can change some of the information you put on the FAFSA, should the change be needed. If you reported something incorrectly, amend it to reflect the correct information. You can update your contact information, your dependency status and add or delete a school. However, you cannot correct your social security number – ask your school if you should file a new FAFSA if the number you entered was incorrect. Some other information, such as mindlessly blowing your savings after filing the FAFSA, likewise cannot be changed.
How to Amend
The quickest way to amend your FAFSA is to do so online by going to the same website you initially filed from. You just need your FAFSA login information and pin. Make the corrections and submit the form; you will receive a confirmation stamp that confirms your changes were received. You can also make changes to the paper Student Aid Report you received, if you filed by mail. Write in the corrections, sign it and return it to the address on the report. Some corrections can also be made by phone. Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at (800) 433-3243.
What to Expect
The amount of time it will take to process your correction depends on how you make the change. Most students process the correction using the online FAFSA. Changes submitted online are processed within three to five days. Once that happens, you will receive a new Student Aid Report that reflects the changes. If you have any questions or concerns when making your corrections or reviewing your new SAR, you can contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center.
Change of Circumstance
Change is constant – this could mean special circumstances that change your financial situation while you are receiving federal student aid. Your financial aid department may need to manually adjust your financial information on your FAFSA or otherwise. To do so, contact your financial aid office and explain the change. For example, if you or your parent loses a job and your tax information from last year no longer reflects current income or assets, you may become eligible for additional federal student aid.
Sara Mahuron specializes in adult/higher education, parenting, budget travel and personal finance. She earned an M.S. in adult/organizational learning and leadership, as well as an Ed.S. in educational leadership, both from the University of Idaho. Mahuron also holds a B.S. in psychology and a B.A. in international studies-business and economics.