The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a document that many college students and their parents often stress over, and with good reason. This application determines the financial aid eligibility of college students and features questions that can be very confusing. Check out some of these common mistakes to ensure that your FAFSA is filled out correctly this year.


-Be sure to actually file the FAFSA! Many families do not complete the application because they feel as though they will not be eligible for need-based aid. However, a completed FAFSA is also necessary in order to receive merit-based aid and federal student loans.


-Fill out the correct form. There are often to applications available on the FAFSA website. Be sure to complete the application pertaining to the proper school year.


-Many people attempt to breeze through the application quickly and end up inverting digits in their social security number or other identifying information. This error can cause the processing of your application to be pushed back, resulting in fewer opportunities for first-come, first-served aid.


-When the FAFSA references ‘you’ or ‘your’, it is requesting information pertaining to the student, not the parent. Although many parents complete the applications for their students, inputting the incorrect individual’s information can impact how much aid is given.


-Be sure to only include money are assets that are reportable on the FAFSA. For example, including things like the value of a home or money held in retirement funds can impact the aid awarded to the student.


-When a student’s parents are divorced or separated, only data for the custodial parent is required. However, if the custodial parent is re-married, their spouse’s data should also be reported.


For more information on filing the FAFSA and preparing for college, visit