How Do I Make Corrections on the FAFSA?

UPDATED Tuesday April 16th —

Do you need to make corrections to your FAFSA? You can! Federal Student Aid announced that all students should be able to log in and make changes. 

This is great news for students and families who have been waiting to make corrections or add schools to the FAFSA.

If you haven’t had a chance yet, log in to your Federal Student Aid account. Navigate to your dashboard and look at your FAFSA Submission Summary. Do you see a red exclamation point? Those are corrections that you need to make to complete your FAFSA form. Make those first. Then make any additional changes needed.

You and your parents may have to log in separately to make these changes. Some changes are your responsibility, and others will be a parent’s responsibility.

Need help? Use these instructions from Federal Student Aid: How To Correct or Update Your FAFSA Form

Want to learn more? You can catch up with what has been happening below.

 

 

FAFSA Corrections Are Available Now

Until this week, it was impossible to make corrections to the FAFSA. Students and families saw a pink error bar stating, “Check Back for Corrections: We expect that online corrections will be available in the coming weeks.”

Thankfully, this has changed. Federal Student Aid, the government agency responsible for the FAFSA, announced on April 15th that students and families can make corrections. “For most applicants and contributors, this process should only take a few minutes,” the statement said.

This issue has been part of larger set of problems vexing both students and colleges. Federal Student Aid admitted in late March that the department had incorrectly calculated the Student Aid Index for 10 percent of students who had filed the FAFSA. Then Federal Student Aid announced on April 1 (alas, not April Fools) that another 20 percent of FAFSA applications had been corrupted by IRS tax upload issues. That is 330,000 students confronting federal errors on their FAFSA forms, by the latest count. Federal Student Aid will need to fix all of these FAFSA forms before the colleges can process them.

 

What You Need to Know Now

This season has been a whirlwind of changes with the FAFSA. There have been a lot of confusing messages. Here’s the deal. This last push is important for both you and your colleges.

1. Colleges can’t process your FAFSA or make a financial aid offer to you until your FAFSA has been successfully completed and submitted.

2. It’s important to make sure than any problems with your FAFSA form have been fixed. Try to correct any problems as soon as possible. You will see issues that must be corrected in your FAFSA Submission Summary under the heading: “Action Required.”

3. Your Student Aid Index might change over the next couple of weeks after you and Federal Student Aid make corrections. Watch your dashboard. Keep your eye on this number and on your estimated amount of federal aid. Contact your high school counselor or college financial aid office if your federal aid numbers change in any way confuses you.

 

College Offers Will Be Delayed

All of this means that students will need to wait even longer to get financial aid packages from their colleges.

With this latest round of FAFSA delays, financial aid experts are predicting that many colleges won’t be able to deliver financial aid packages until after May 1st, the industry’s traditional Decision Day when students declare which college they will attend.

Colleges are well aware of the FAFSA delays and many are pushing back their enrollment deadlines to give time to prepare and send financial aid packages to admitted students. Check in with colleges that have admitted you or look for your colleges on this comprehensive list compiled by the National Association for College Admission Counseling. Be sure to contact your colleges if you are having problems with your FAFSA. It’s important that you have the time you need to get offers from the colleges you hope to attend and compare their aid offers.

 

Most Common Corrections

There are three common types of corrections that students and parents will need to address as soon as possible:

  • Mistakes you or your family know about: There are dozens of small errors that you or your parents may have made that will be easy to fix once you can get back into your FAFSA. One common error: Many students accidentally said “yes” to Question 8 indicating that they only wanted to be considered for an unsubsidized loan. Fix that mistake if you made it. You want to be considered for all student aid, if possible!

 

  • Errors flagged by Federal Student Aid: As we noted above, it’s important to open your FAFSA Submission Summary on your Federal Student Aid dashboard. Take a look at the four tabs under your name. Look for “Next Steps.” Do you see an exclamation point inside a red dot? Click on that tab. These are errors you will need to fix on your FAFSA. One very common error we are seeing: A student or parent might not have electronically signed the form. (This was due to a bug in the FAFSA that submits the form before it can be completed.) This is an easy fix. Figure out if it is you or your parent (or both) who needs to sign the form. Go back into your FAFSA and check the box to sign the form.

 

  • Adding more schools to the FAFSA: You may want to add more schools to your college list. You can list up to 20 schools on the FAFSA. If you already have 20 schools on the FAFSA, you will need to call some of those schools and ask if they have your information. If they do, you can take those schools off and add your new ones. But in this chaotic season, you may want to check that they have the correct information before replacing the school on your FAFSA.

 

Dealing With the Delays

While you are waiting for your offers, get an estimate of how much aid you will receive using your schools’ net price calculators. Every college is required to have a net price calculator on its website. Most have been careful to update their calculators because they know families are relying on them this year. Do the calculations for every school you were admitted to. And be sure to read our five tips on how to use a net price calculator.

Most important! Do not commit to a college before seeing your financial aid package. We know it is tempting to say yes to a school and start celebrating, but there is no way to know how much college will cost until you see the financial aid package. Sit tight, wait for the FAFSA to get fixed, and take the time to compare your offers! Don’t let the delay defeat you.

 

EXTRA CREDIT: What is the status of my FAFSA?

Now that your FAFSA is being processed, you will be seeing some new terms from Federal Student Aid letting you know the status of your form.

This can be important. You will want to know if your FAFSA needs work or if everything is good to go.

Federal Student Aid published this helpful set of instructions on its page of frequently asked questions:

 

To check the status of your FAFSA:

1. Log into your account with username and password. (This is your FSA ID.)

2. Navigate to your dashboard.

3. Select “2024-25 FAFSA Form” from the “My Activity” page.

4. The application status will be one of the following:

Draft: Your section of the FAFSA form is incomplete.

In Progress: You provided your consent, approval, and signature to your section of the FAFSA form, but the FAFSA form has not been submitted yet.

In Review: You have submitted your form and your application is still processing.

Processed: Your application was processed successfully. No further action is needed.

Action Required: Your application requires further action from you or your contributor(s). In some cases, you may need to contact your college or career/trade school to resolve the issue.

Closed: Your FAFSA form was never submitted and can no longer be submitted because the federal FAFSA deadline passed.