How to Make Corrections to Your FAFSA

 May 15, 2020
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Submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, known as the FAFSA, is crucial in order to be eligible for most college financial aid. In some cases, it’s possible to make corrections to your FAFSA — for instance, if you made a mistake, if you need to add a college or if your dependency status has changed since you completed the application.

Here’s how to make corrections to your FAFSA after submitting it, as well as a guide for when you can make changes to your FAFSA.

How to make corrections to your FAFSA: 6 common mistakes

There are three main types of adjustments you can make to your FAFSA after you’ve submitted it: Corrections, updates and changes.

  • Corrections: If you made a mistake, such as using an incorrect Social Security number or misspelling your name, you can edit the FAFSA in order to correct it.
  • Updates: If your situation has changed since you’ve submitted the FAFSA, you can — and should — update it accordingly. You can update your mailing address, email address and other contact information, as well as your dependency status. If you’re selected for FAFSA verification, you must update your FAFSA to reflect any changes to your household, such as the number of family members in your household or the number of people in your household who are in college.
  • Changes: You can change the schools listed on your FAFSA in order to add or remove a college. But much of the financial information on your FAFSA can’t be changed once you’ve submitted it. (For instance, if you reported a specific dollar amount of savings and have since spent the money, you can’t change that on your FAFSA.) However, if your family’s income has changed significantly since you filed the FAFSA, you can initiate a financial aid appeal through your college’s financial aid office.

Here’s how — and when — to make corrections, updates and changes to your FAFSA after you’ve submitted it:

1. I need to add or change a school on my FAFSA
2. I need to update my household size on my FAFSA
3. I entered the wrong Social Security number on FAFSA
4. I need to change the year on my FAFSA
5. I need to change my name on my FAFSA
6. I need to update my dependency status on my FAFSA

1. I need to add or change a school on my FAFSA

When you fill out the FAFSA, you’re asked to list the colleges you want the information sent to. You do this by adding the federal school code for each college or university you’re applying to. If you’re completing the online version of the FAFSA, you can list up to 10 schools at once. If you’re completing a PDF version of the FAFSA, you can only list four schools at a time.

Since you may (and often should) submit the FAFSA before you finish applying to colleges — and since you may be applying to more than 10 colleges — you may need to change the schools that are listed on your application. To add schools to your FAFSA, log into your Federal Student Aid account at fafsa.gov and click on “Make FAFSA Corrections.” From there, you can add new federal school codes or remove previously-listed schools.
Log into your Federal Student Aid account at
If you already have 10 schools listed on your FAFSA, adding new school codes will replace existing ones. The schools that you remove won’t receive the updated version of your FAFSA, but they’ll still have the version that you initially submitted.

2. I need to update my household size on my FAFSA

If your FAFSA is selected for verification, you’re required to update your household information if anything has changed. You must update the following:

  • The number of family members in your household (or your parent’s household).
  • The number of people in your household (or your parent’s household) who are in college.

In most cases, you can update this information online at fafsa.gov. But if your household size has changed because you’ve gotten married or divorced, contact your school’s financial aid office. It’s up to each school’s financial aid office to determine on a case-by-case basis whether a change in marital status warrants a FAFSA adjustment, according to the 2019-2020 Federal Student Aid Handbook.

You can only make changes to your household information if your FAFSA was selected for verification. If you’re wondering, “Why won’t FAFSA let me change my household size?”, it’s likely because your FAFSA wasn’t selected for verification.

3. I entered the wrong Social Security number on FAFSA

If you entered the wrong Social Security number on your FAFSA, you can’t fix it online. Instead, the Department of Education recommends submitting an entirely new online FAFSA. However, make sure your new FAFSA will be processed in time to meet your school’s FAFSA deadline.

Alternatively, contact the financial aid office at all of the colleges listed on your FAFSA and ask them to correct your Social Security number. A third option is to make the correction on a paper version of your Student Aid Report (SAR), which you should have received after submitting your FAFSA, and mail it to the address listed on the SAR.

4. I need to change the year on my FAFSA

It’s possible to apply for the wrong FAFSA year because throughout most of the calendar year, the FAFSA is available for two academic years.

If this confusing schedule caused you to complete the FAFSA for the wrong academic year, you’ll need to fill it out again for the correct academic year. Unfortunately, you can’t simply change the year on your FAFSA.

Academic year FAFSA open date Federal FAFSA deadline Federal FAFSA corrections deadline
2019-2020 October 1, 2018 June 30, 2020 September 12, 2020
2020-2021 October 1, 2019 June 30, 2021 September 11, 2021

5. I need to change my name on my FAFSA

There are two main instances in which you’d need to do a FAFSA name change:

  • You misspelled your name on the FAFSA when you initially filled it out: In this case, your name on the FAFSA likely doesn’t match your FSA ID, which means you won’t be able to correct your FAFSA online. Instead, you’ll either need to contact the financial aid office at all of the schools listed on your FAFSA or file a correction by mail using a paper version of your Student Aid Report.
  • Your last name has changed since you submitted the form: In this case, you must first update your name with the Social Security Administration, then update your FSA ID and finally, update your name on the FAFSA.

6. I need to update my dependency status on my FAFSA

If your dependency status changes, you need to update your FAFSA. This is important because your dependency status can dramatically affect your financial aid eligibility. If you’re considered a dependent student, you’re required to report parent financial information on the FAFSA. If you’re an independent student, you don’t have to report parent information, which means you’ll likely qualify for more financial aid.

For instance, update your dependency status if:

  • You’ve become a parent
  • You’ve been given a legal guardian (who isn’t a parent) by a court order
  • You’ve become an emancipated minor

There’s one exception: If your dependency status has changed because you’ve been married or divorced since submitting the FAFSA, contact the financial aid office at all of the schools listed on your FAFSA.

Where to make FAFSA corrections

There are four ways to make FAFSA corrections: online, by phone, by mail or through the financial aid office at your school.

Online

Correcting your FAFSA online is generally the easiest option. But in some scenarios, it’s not possible to fix FAFSA errors online. For the instances in which you can update your FAFSA online, here’s how to do it:

  1. Log into your Federal Student Aid account at fafsa.gov using your FSA ID
  2. Navigate to the “My FAFSA” page and select “Make FAFSA corrections”
  3. Create a save key, which is essentially a password (but not the same as your FSA ID)
  4. Correct, update or change your information as needed
  5. Submit the FAFSA correction

By phone

Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4FED-AID (1-800-433-3243). In order to make a FAFSA correction by phone, you’ll need your FAFSA Data Release Number (DRN). Find your DRN in your FAFSA confirmation email or on your paper or electronic Student Aid Report.

By mail

Correcting your FAFSA via snail mail is the least-efficient option, but it may be necessary in some cases. Here’s how to correct your FAFSA by mail:

  1. Request a paper copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR). There are two ways do do this:
    • Online: Log into your Federal Student Aid account at fafsa.gov using your FSA ID, navigate to the “My FAFSA” page and select “View or Print your Student Aid Report (SAR).”
    • By phone: Call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).
  2. Once you receive your paper SAR, write in the corrections and sign it.
  3. Mail the paper SAR to the address listed on the document.

Via the financial aid office at your school

If you’re already in college or you’ve already accepted an offer of admission at a college, contact the school’s financial aid office in order to correct, update or change information on your FAFSA.

If you’re still in the college application process, you’ll need to contact the financial aid office for each school listed on your FAFSA. Different schools may have different processes for handling FAFSA corrections.

How long does it take for FAFSA to process corrections?

You can make corrections to your FAFSA after it has initially been submitted and processed. FAFSAs submitted online typically take three to five days to process, and it initially takes seven to 10 days to process paper FAFSAs that were submitted by mail. You can check your FAFSA status online.

The processing time for FAFSA corrections may be different from the initial processing times, and it depends on how you make your FAFSA changes.

  • Online: 3-5 days
  • By mail: 2-3 weeks
  • Through a school’s financial aid office: Varies by school

Once you submit your corrected FAFSA, you’ll receive an updated Student Aid Report either electronically within one to five days, or by mail within seven to 10 days.

When is the FAFSA corrections deadline?

The FAFSA corrections deadline is almost three months after the federal FAFSA deadline. (For the 2019-2020 academic year, the FAFSA corrections deadline is September 12, 2020.) However, submit your FAFSA corrections as soon as possible because states and colleges have much earlier FAFSA deadlines.

Academic year Federal FAFSA corrections deadline
2019-2020 September 12, 2020
2020-2021 September 11, 2021

Although correcting, updating or changing your FAFSA may feel like a hassle, it’s important in order to ensure you qualify for the most possible financial aid.

Kat Tretina contributed to this report.

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