Common FAFSA Form Mistakes – For Parents
1. Don’t leave answers blank. Leaving blanks on your form can cause miscalculations, and the application could possibly be rejected. If your intended answer is zero, write “0”.
2. Double check your Social Security and driver’s license numbers. Make sure you have written the correct numbers – even one wrong digit can mess up the entire application.
3. Don’t enter the wrong income tax information. Make sure you enter the federal income tax you paid (or will pay) based on the 2009 federal tax return. Do not enter the tax withholdings on your (or your spouse’s) W-2 forms.
4. List your current marital status. You need to state what your marital status is on the day you fill out the FAFSA – whether you are married, separated, or divorced.
5. Don’t include retirement assets. The FAFSA asks about how much money you have in cash, checking, and savings accounts. It does not ask about your 401 (k), IRA, or other retirement accounts you have – so don’t include this information!
6. List colleges your child has applied to. You are able to include up to 10 colleges that your child has applied to – but you will need each college’s Federal School Code. The federal processors will send the relevant FAFSA information to the schools you have listed.
7. Don’t exaggerate your education. If both parents didn’t graduate from college, don’t list “college” as the highest level of education – even if they did attend some college courses over the years. There are many schools that favor applicants who are considered first-generation college-students.
8. Home equity is irrelevant. The FAFSA doesn’t ask if you own a house (or second home, or real estate investments…), so the value of your house does not matter.
9. Retirement accounts are irrelevant. The FAFSA doesn’t ask about your retirement accounts – so your chances for financial aid help aren’t affected by how much money you have saved up in these accounts.
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