Oops! As with any lengthy application, it’s easy to make mistakes or omissions on the Free Application for Financial Student Aid (FAFSA). In other cases, an applicant’s personal information changes and has to be updated on the form. Some corrections are more important than others — like a typo in your Social Security number — and need to be handled with special care.
Luckily, most errors can be corrected fairly easily. We’ll discuss when you need to update your information, how to make FAFSA corrections, and some special cases that require guidance from your school of choice’s financial aid office.
How To Make Simple Updates to FAFSA
The FAFSA asks for your personal information as it stands on the day you sign your form. It’s understood that details may change, and making updates is not a problem. (Of course, it’s best to avoid FAFSA mistakes altogether.)
Some FAFSA changes are easier to make than others. A good example is adding or dropping colleges on your schools list. The process begins with correcting your FAFSA online, followed by submitting an updated Student Aid Report (SAR) by mail. Here are the steps:
1. Make Changes Online
You can make simple changes to your FAFSA on the Federal Student Aid website.
• Go to FAFSA.gov and log on with your FSA ID
• On the “My FAFSA” page, choose “Make Corrections”
• Create a save key
• Enter your updates and corrections
• Submit the form
2. Mail in a Corrected SAR
The SAR is a document summarizing the info on your FAFSA. When you first submitted your FAFSA, you should have received either an email with a link to your SAR or a paper copy by mail. You can also find it on the FAFSA site by choosing “View SAR.”
After you’ve made changes online, it’s a good idea to correct your SAR (there’s a field for updates), sign it, and mail it to the address listed on your form. Now you have two separate records of your changes, which should ensure your updates get made.
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Deadlines for FAFSA Updates
The federal deadline for submitting the FAFSA is June 30, but corrections are accepted several weeks after that date. For the 2022-2023 academic year, the last day for corrections and updates is Sept. 9, 2023. For 2023-2024, the deadline is Sept. 14, 2024.
Keep in mind that state and college deadlines vary, and that some financial aid is given out on a first come, first served basis. If you need to make substantial changes, call your financial aid office to find out about any other deadlines you should be aware of.
For more important dates, check out our guide to FAFSA deadlines.
Some corrections and updates need to be handled with special urgency and care. This includes your contact information and anything that affects your dependency status — including if you become pregnant.
To make updates, follow the steps above and watch out for your updated SAR to confirm the changes have been made.
Other important updates require a call to your school of choice’s financial aid office. The office will tell you whether your FAFSA needs to be updated and the best way to do it. In some cases, the office can make changes electronically, so the student doesn’t have to do anything.
Call the financial aid office first for the following:
• Change in marital status.
• Significant changes to income (yours or your parents’) for the current year.
• Change in the number of family members in the household (yours or or your parents’).
• Change in the number of people who are in college in the household (yours or your parents’).
• You or your parents filed an amended 1040-X tax return.
• Other changes in circumstance that cannot be reported on the FAFSA.
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Updating Your Social Security Number
Your SSN is a special case, since you cannot update it on the FAFSA website. If you entered your number wrong on your FAFSA, the Department of Education recommends that you complete and submit a whole new FAFSA form. This is the most foolproof way to ensure the mistake doesn’t haunt you longer than it should. Just be aware that this method will change the submission date for your FAFSA, which can affect your eligibility for state and college aid.
Another option is to call one of the schools on your FAFSA list and ask them to try and update your SSN on their system. If successful, this will update your record across all schools, without changing your submission date.
You may also want to mail in an updated SAR. Follow the instructions above.
Recommended: FAFSA Guide
If You Miss the Deadline for Updates
If you made an error on your FAFSA that results in your receiving less financial aid than you should have, there’s not much you can do. Still, it’s a good idea to call your school’s financial aid office and explain your situation. They may be able to help you find any remaining financial aid — especially state grants and scholarships — to cover your cost of attendance until the following year.
Another option is private student loans. Educational loans disbursed by a private lender can help students who didn’t qualify for enough federal aid. It’s important to note that private student loans do not come with the same protections that are baked into federal aid, such as deferment and income-based repayment plans. Here’s a good summary of the differences between private student loans vs. federal student loans.
Still, for students who do not qualify for federal loans or who need additional funds to cover the cost of college, private student loans can help bridge the gap.
Making corrections and updates to your FAFSA is typically straightforward. Simple changes can be made on the FAFSA website even after the deadline for submitting the application. It’s a good idea to follow up by mailing a corrected Student Aid Report (SAR) to the address listed on the back. A new SAR will confirm that your changes were made. For some important updates, it’s recommended that you call your school of choice’s financial aid office. They include changes in marital or dependency status, and significant financial changes. For changes to your SSN, the DOE recommends filing a whole new FAFSA.
Once your federal student aid options have been tapped out, other student loan options may still be needed to pay for college.
Private lenders like SoFi offer in-school loans to help cover the cost of attending college. SoFi’s no-fee private student loans come with flexible repayment plans and competitive rates.
SoFi Private Student Loans
Please borrow responsibly. SoFi Private Student Loans are not a substitute for federal loans, grants, and work-study programs. You should exhaust all your federal student aid options before you consider any private loans, including ours. Read our FAQs. SoFi Private Student Loans are subject to program terms and restrictions, and applicants must meet SoFi’s eligibility and underwriting requirements. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information. To view payment examples, click here. SoFi reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. This information is subject to change.
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