How can I fix an error in my Social Security Number on my FAFSA?

Question:

I submitted the FAFSA by the state deadline, but there was a typo in my Social Security Number. This caused my FAFSA to fail a data match with Social Security Administration records. I called the Federal Student Aid hotline and they told me to file a new FAFSA. But this new FAFSA was filed after the state deadline, causing me to lose eligibility for a state grant. How can I fix this?

Answer:

Errors in the student’s name, date of birth and Social Security Number (SSN) are among the more common errors on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Typical errors include:

  • Using a nickname instead of the student’s legal name
  • Name changes due to marriage or a legal name change
  • Transposing two digits in the Social Security Number
  • Repeating a digit in the Social Security Number
  • Substituting an incorrect digit in the Social Security Number, such as a digit that is adjacent to the correct digit on the keyboard
  • Entering only eight of the nine digits of the Social Security Number, causing a zero to be substituted for the ninth digit
  • Swapping the student and parent Social Security Numbers
  • Substituting a sibling’s Social Security Number for the student’s
  • Errors in the student or parent’s date of birth, especially errors in the year of birth (e.g., entering the current year instead of the birth year or incorrectly remembering the year of birth)

The student’s name and Social Security Number must be entered exactly as they appear on the student’s Social Security Card, or the FAFSA will be rejected. The student’s date of birth must also match the date of birth in Social Security Administration (SSA) records.

(If the student has undergone a name change, he or she can contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) at 1-800-772-1213 or TDD/TTY 1-800-325-0778 or visit www.ssa.gov to update the name on the student’s Social Security Card. But, since this can cause delays in processing financial aid, it may be best to file the FAFSA using the name on the Social Security Card and correct the name later.)

If a FAFSA fails the SSA data match, FAFSA on the Web will allow the applicant to correct an error in the Social Security Number. However, the original, incorrect Social Security Number will continue to be used as the record identifier for the student’s FAFSA, potentially causing problems.

Accordingly, it is best if the student submits a new FAFSA using the correct Social Security Number. However, this FAFSA will have a new application receipt date, potentially causing the student to miss deadlines for state and institutional aid.

If so, the student should provide the college’s financial aid administrator with a copy of the Confirmation Page and Student Aid Report (SAR) from the incorrect FAFSA, to prove that the student submitted the original FAFSA by the deadlines. The financial aid administrator will be able to help the student qualify for institutional and, possibly, state aid based on the original FAFSA submission date.