Free FAFSA Guide
Summary: Made a mistake on your FAFSA or need to update some information that’s changed? It’s fairly easy to make changes to your FAFSA. This article explains the different types of changes and provides details on the process.
After you file your FAFSA, you might need to make some changes to fix errors or provide new information.
There are three official types of FAFSA changes:
- Corrections: Changes to information that was incorrect as of the date you submitted your FAFSA
- Updates: Changes to information that was correct as of the date you submitted your FAFSA, but has changed since then
- Adjustments: Changes your college financial administrator makes to accommodate special circumstances that happened after you submitted your FAFSA
Examples of FAFSA Corrections
When you submitted your FAFSA, you probably used estimates for income and tax information. You’ll need to update those estimates after filing federal income tax returns. The easiest way to do this is to log in at FAFSA.ed.gov use the IRS Data Retrieval tool to download the information into your FAFSA. This is the most common type of FAFSA correction.
Other types of corrections:
- Add or remove colleges
- Change email addresses, mailing addresses, and other contact information
- Fix a typo, such as reporting $45,000 instead of $54,000
You can’t make corrections to your Social Security Number online. If you find a typo in your Social Security Number on the FAFSA, contact your college’s financial aid administrator for help. You might have to submit a new FAFSA with your correct Social Security Number.
How to Make a Correction on Your FAFSA
There are three ways to make a correction on your FAFSA: online, by mail, and by phone. You can make corrections at any time before or during the award year.
The easiest way to make a FAFSA correction is to log in as a returning user at FAFSA.ed.gov. On the My FAFSA page, click “Make FAFSA Corrections.”
Don’t forget this important step:
- Be sure to sign and submit the corrected FAFSA after you make any changes using your FSA ID.
- If you are a dependent student, and you changed any parent information, your parent will also need to sign using their FSA ID.
- You can also print, sign, and mail a paper signature page.
- If you don’t sign your corrected FAFSA, you’ll receive an email reminder in a week.
You can also make corrections on your paper Student Aid Report (SAR). Find the incorrect information, and write the correct information in the field next to it. After you make all the necessary corrections, you (and your parent, if you’re a dependent student) should sign the SAR and mail it to the address listed near the signature line.
You can also make corrections by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243). You’ll need your 4-digit Data Release Number (DRN) that’s printed on your SAR. When you make corrections by phone, you’ll only be able to update contact information and add or remove schools.
What Happens After You Make a Correction
If you submit a correction online, it will be processed within 3-5 days.
You will receive a new Student Aid Report (SAR) after the corrections have been processed. If you want to make more corrections, you will need to wait until after you receive the new SAR.
If you correct an error on your FAFSA (other than through the IRS Data Retrieval Tool) your FAFSA is more likely to be selected for verification.
Examples of FAFSA Updates
Some types of FAFSA changes are officially called updates. You won’t be allowed to update every field on your FAFSA. Here are some of the things you can update:
- Dependency status, for reasons other than a change in your marital status (for example, parents both died, you are now on active duty in the military, you now have a dependent other than a spouse, etc.)
- Household size (for student or parent, only if selected for verification)
- Number in college (for student or parent, only if selected for verification)
- Marital status, as long as your college approves. (This may require changes to your household size and number in college, you’ll have to add your spouse’s income, assets, and tax information to your FAFSA.)
Examples of FAFSA Adjustments
Your college financial aid administrator can makes adjustments for students with special circumstances. If things have changed since you submitted your FAFSA, ask for a review and provide any requested documents.
Here are examples of changes due to adjustments:
Special circumstances related to income and cash flow
- Recent unemployment of a family member or an independent student
- A student or family member becoming a dislocated worker
- Death, disability or serious illness of a wage earner
- Incarceration or institutionalization of a household wage-earner
- Mental or physical incapacitation of a household wage-earner
- Loss or reduction in parent or student income, including when a student quits a job to go to school full-time
- Exclusion from income of the conversion of a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA
- Exclusion of employer reimbursement of moving expenses that were included in income
- Exclusion of hardship distributions from retirement plans, especially if used to pay for higher education expenses
- Addressing income that varies from year to year (taxi drivers, realtors, waiters, restaurant owners, etc.) by substituting an average of the last three years of income
- Exclusion of unusual capital gains, an atypical one-time bonus, and worker’s compensation buyouts
- Exclusion of other one-time events from parent or student income (but not assets)
- Other changes in family income, assets, or a student’s status that impact the family’s cash flow
Changes in child support and other benefits
- Reductions in child support
- The end of child support when the child reaches the age of majority
- Catch-up payments of child support owed from previous years
- A reduction in Social Security or other federal, state, or local means-tested benefits
- Medical, dental, or nursing home expenses not covered by insurance
- Unusually high childcare, dependent-care or elder-care costs
- Dependent-care costs associated with a special-needs child or an elderly parent, grandparent, or other relative
- Elementary or secondary school tuition
Number in college
- Parent(s) enrolled on at least a half-time basis in a degree or certificate program at a school eligible for Title IV federal student aid
Other unusual events
- A change in housing status that results in an individual being homeless
- Natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, floods, and landslides
- Loss or damage to the principal place of residence
- U.S. Armed Forces activation of a parent or student
- Review your Student Aid Report (SAR) or SAR Acknowledgement carefully and correct any errors.
- For faster processing, submit FAFSA changes online at FAFSA.ed.gov.
- If your circumstances have changed since you submitted the FAFSA, contact your school’s financial aid administrator to see if you qualify for an adjustment.