Conflicting Information on Your FAFSA

Filing the FAFSA 2016-2017 Edition Cover Paperback
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Summary: Sometimes, the information you submit on your FAFSA differs from other information available to your college. When this happens, your school can’t disburse your financial aid money until the conflicting information is resolved.

What happens if there’s a discrepancy between the data on your FAFSA and other information available to your college (like federal income tax returns)?

FAFSA Conflicting Information Diagram

Until the conflicting information is resolved, the financial aid administrator can’t:

  • Disburse your federal student aid money
  • Make an adjustment as part of a professional judgment review

If your FAFSA was selected for verification, you can’t get your financial aid money until the verification process is finished.

Examples of Conflicting Information

Here are some common examples of conflicting information:

FAFSA Conflict with Federal Income Tax Returns
Not required to file a federal income tax return
Income reported on the FAFSA is higher than the IRS filing threshold
No assets reported
Dividend and interest income doesn’t match tax return
Tax return lists dividend and interest income
Dependent student's permanent address  Custodial parent’s address doesn’t match 
Parents are divorced and custodial parent is unmarried  No child support or alimony reported 
Parents are divorced  Both parents filed as head of household 

How to Resolve Conflicting Information

To resolve conflicting information, you’ll need to do one of the following:

  • Correct your FAFSA
  • Correct the document that conflicts with the FAFSA
  • Prove that there is no conflict

For example, suppose you said you were single on your FAFSA, but you said you were married on your federal income tax return. You could fix this conflict by providing documents that show that you got divorced after the end of the tax year, but before you filed the FAFSA. Or, you could file an amended federal income tax return or correct the information on the FAFSA to resolve the discrepancy.

Your school can’t disburse your federal student aid funds until you:

  • Complete the verification process
  • Provide the documents requested by the college’s financial aid administrator
  • Help resolve conflicting information

Recommendations

  1. Make sure the information you provide on your FAFSA matches other documents, such as federal income tax returns.
  2. Resolve any conflicting information quickly by making corrections or providing requested documentation.
  3. Save any paperwork that could help you resolve a conflict on your FAFSA.
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