Who is the "preparer" on the FAFSA?

Question:

My parents and I completed the FAFSA together. Should I indicate that I am the “Preparer” on the FAFSA or should my parents?

Answer:

The preparer section of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) is intended for paid preparers of the FAFSA, not the student or parents.

A paid preparer is someone who was paid a fee to provide personalized help or advice in completing the FAFSA or to complete the FAFSA on behalf of the student and/or his or her family. A paid preparer must sign the FAFSA in the preparer section and provide his or her Social Security Number or federal Employer Identification Number (EIN).

If a paid preparer refuses to sign the FAFSA or fails to disclose that the FAFSA may be completed for free without professional assistance, be wary of any information or advice provided by the preparer. Paid preparers who refuse to comply with these federal requirements can be reported to the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Education by calling 1-800-MIS-USED (1-800-647-8733).

Paid preparers are subject to the same penalties as the student or parents for providing false or misleading information on the FAFSA.

People who provide free help in completing the FAFSA, such as high school guidance counselors and college financial aid administrators, are not considered paid preparers and are not required to sign the preparer section of the FAFSA.

Online version of the FAFSA:

FAFSA Online: Are you a preparer?

Paper version of the FAFSA:

Paper FAFSA: Are you a preparer?