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How to Update and Correct Your FAFSA before It’s Too Late

How to Update and Correct Your FAFSA before the Deadline - TaxACT

Submit any necessary corrections to the student aid application FAFSA before the deadline this fall.

If you filled out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) earlier this year to apply for student aid, there’s a good chance you need to go back and make corrections to it now. It’s important to make the corrections before your state’s deadline.

If you want to receive financial aid for yourself or someone else in your household, you must file the FAFSA early in the year.

In fact, it is recommended that you submit the application as close to January 1 as possible. The problem is that the FAFSA uses information from last year’s tax return.

When FAFSA was due early this year, you may not have finished your tax return – or in some cases, even received all your tax information. You are allowed to estimate tax information when you fill out the form.

However, the amounts may not be the same as the final numbers on your tax return. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Education makes allowances for this problem.

You have considerably longer to correct a FAFSA for yourself, your spouse, or other members of your household. Your deadline depends on your state of legal residence.

You can find your deadline on the FAFSA.ed.gov website.

You may also need to correct your FAFSA if you move, get a new email address, or want to add colleges to your list.

Reasons to correct a FAFSA

You should correct your FAFSA if any of the following are true:

  • The income amounts were not correct as of the date you submitted your FAFSA.
  • Any other information was not correct as of that date.
  • You want to add or remove colleges from your application.
  • The address or email address at which you can be reached has changed.

Changes that do not require a correction to FAFSA

Your FAFSA should be accurate as of the date you signed and submitted it.

If you get married or divorced after you submitted the FAFSA, for example, you don’t need to correct the FAFSA, as long as it was accurate when you submitted it.

How to make corrections

Wait until you have all your information before you correct your FAFSA. You don’t want to be correcting it over and over again.

You can make most corrections online. Log in to your account on the FAFSA home page, and then click Make FAFSA Corrections.

It’s important to check for messages regarding your FAFSA

Make sure any messages haven’t landed in your junk email folder. You want to be able to respond promptly to messages.

Remember you cannot correct your Social Security number online.

If you filed with the wrong Social Security number, you can either start over and file a new FAFSA with the correct number, or you can change the Social Security number on a current FAFSA by entering the correct number on a paper Student Aid Report (SAR), or by having one of the schools listed on your SAR to change it for you.

To get a paper SAR, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center using the number on the FAFSA.ed.gov website.

What to expect after you make corrections

If you make changes online, the changes should be processed in three to five days. You will receive a revised Student Aid Report with the correct information.

The schools on your list can access the revised information one day after your corrected FAFSA is processed.

How much time have you spent finding information for and filling out the FAFSA?

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About Sally Herigstad

Sally Herigstad is a certified public accountant and personal finance columnist and author of Help! I Can't Pay My Bills, Surviving a Financial Crisis (St. Martin's Griffin). She writes regularly at CreditCards.com, Bankrate.com, Interest.com, RedPlum, and MSN Money. She is an experienced speaker and a member of Toastmasters International. Follow Sally on Twitter.

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