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After the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is submitted, the applicant may not change any information that was correct as of the date the FAFSA was submitted. In most cases, the applicant may not modify any data elements to reflect changes that have occurred since the FAFSA was filed. For example, if the parent’s investments have lost value since the FAFSA filing date, the applicant may not change the parent assets reported on the FAFSA.
However, if the applicant made an error on the original FAFSA, the applicant must correct the error. The correction must be accurate as of the date the FAFSA was filed, not the date the information was changed.
The most common type of correction involves updating estimated income and tax information on the FAFSA after federal income tax returns have been filed. For example, applicants may use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) to correct the income and tax data elements on the FAFSA.
Applicants may also add or remove colleges from the FAFSA, or change email addresses, mailing addresses and other contact information. (Strictly speaking, these are updates, not corrections.) Changes in the PIN, email address and mailing address may not occur until the applicant’s identity is confirmed with the Social Security Administration (SSA), which can take up to 3 days from the date the PIN is requested.
Another type of correction involves correcting genuine errors in the information submitted on the FAFSA. For example, if an applicant transposed two digits in the parent asset figure, reporting $45,000 instead of $54,000, the applicant must correct the error.
Corrections may not be made to the applicant’s Social Security number. Even if the applicant is able to change the Social Security number on the FAFSA, the FAFSA may still be associated with the original Social Security number. Applicants who have a typo in the Social Security number on the FAFSA should contact the college’s financial aid administrator for assistance. It may be necessary for the applicant to submit a new FAFSA with his or her correct Social Security number.
There are three methods of making a correction on the FAFSA: online, by mail and by phone.
Corrections may occur at any time before or during the award year.
If a correction is submitted online, the correction will be processed in 3-5 days.
The applicant will receive a new Student Aid Report (SAR) after the corrections have been processed.
If the applicant wants to make additional corrections, he/she will need to wait until after he/she receives the SAR to make those corrections.
If an applicant corrects an error on the FAFSA, other than through the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, the FAFSA is more likely to be selected for verification. If a FAFSA is selected for verification, the applicant will have to supply the college financial aid administrator with documentation of the amounts reported on the FAFSA. Verification is intended to improve the accuracy of the FAFSA by reducing the number of errors on the form.
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