Mistakes to Avoid When Filling Out the FAFSA


Ready to apply to Arizona College? The first thing you should do is complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if you are eligible for financial support. As you are filling out the application, be sure to keep these commonly made mistakes top of mind when completing the FAFSA.

  • Don’t wait until the last minute to apply. It’s true – the early bird gets the worm. Many students don’t realize that you don’t have to complete your taxes in order to apply for federal student aid, although it will help you get a jump on the FAFSA. You will eventually need to use the correct figures (there is a correction page on the FAFSA website), but to complete the FAFSA, you can use data from the previous tax year to make estimates.
  • Don’t complete the FAFSA by hand – apply online. The site is designed to catch common errors, helping your application to be processed more quickly. When applying via FAFSA on the Web (FOTW), you can retrieve a PIN from the Federal Student Aid PIN website to save and continue the FAFSA at any time.
  • Try not to leave any fields blank. Leaving too many blank fields may cause miscalculations, which could result in your application being rejected. Instead of leaving a field blank, enter ‘0’ or ‘not applicable.’
  • Double check – and triple check – that you are filling out your information correctly. Make sure your Social Security Number and driver’s license number is correct. If you don’t know your parents’ Social Security Numbers, list 000-00-0000 instead of listing them incorrectly. Make sure your address, legal name, marital status, etc. is correct and listed consistently on your Social Security Card.
  • Include all required information. Don’t forget to include on the FAFSA whether you are a student, any children who will be born during the year, and the name of the college you are planning to attend. And if you are a male between the ages of 18 and 26, make sure to register with Selective Service or you will be ineligible for federal student aid.

Information in this blog post is accurate as of March 26, 2013.