Top 5 FAFSA Application Mistakes –

What are the top five mistakes you see students make when filling out their FAFSA applications?

The top five mistakes that I have seen when students complete the FAFSA would be:

  • Failing to thoroughly read the FAFSA. This is the main cause of minor mistakes made on the FAFSA.
  • Placing their first name in the last name section. Make sure to read each section before entering your name. This does not seem like a big deal, but this causes the FAFSA to be flagged and prolongs the processing of financial aid.
  • Not imputing the Social Security Number correctly. This causes the FAFSA to be flagged and the financial aid office to request a copy of the student’s SSN card.
  • The mistake of inputting taxes earned instead of taxes paid in the income section. The best way to avoid this is to transmit tax information from the IRS onto the FAFSA. If tax information is not able to be transmitted yet, then make sure that the taxes paid are not the same as the taxes received after filing taxes.
  • Many students forget to sign the FAFSA with their PIN and submit. This is the final step and the school will not receive the information without it being submitted. They can receive the FAFSA without it being signed, but it will not be processed.

Edited by Valerie Jones

Related: Student Loan Default Rates | Trends in Student Borrowing | Student Borrowers Lack Financial Aid Info

Latisha Bonner has been in the financial aid business for 10 years, four of those which she spent working directly with Sallie Mae assisting students with loan repayment and working with colleges to help students fund their education. She’s had experience working in financial aid and student accounting for different schools and currently serves as the default prevention coordinator for a four-year university.