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Tips on completing the FAFSA

The Office of Financial Assistance has compiled a list of tips and the most common FAFSA errors. Families are encouraged to carefully review the instructions for each FAFSA question located on the right side of the screen on FAFSA on the Web. Common errors are found under each FAFSA step below.

FAFSA Step One (Student Demographic Information)

• Do answer the question regarding student gender on the FAFSA. Leaving this question blank will delay processing.

FAFSA Step Four (Parent Demographic Information)

• Do report stepparent's information if custodial parent is remarried. If parents are divorced and custodial parent is remarried, stepparent's information is required on the FAFSA.

• Do report accurate household size. Include applicant; parent(s); parent's other children if parent(s) will provide more than half of their support or the children could answer "no" to all dependency questions; other people if they live with applicant's parent(s) and parent(s) provide more than half of their support and will continue to provide more than half of their support.

FAFSA Step Five (Financial Information)

• Don't leave wages blank. If the filer has W-2 income, business income, or farm income, include these amounts as wages for the appropriate persons.

• Do list correct untaxed income information. Report current year contributions to tax-deferred pension and savings plans (found on W-2 forms in Boxes 12a-12d, codes D, E, F, G, H and S.) Report child support received for all children in the household

• Do not report these types of assets on the FAFSA.

  • The value of the home the family lives in.
  • The value of tax-sheltered retirement plans (i.e. 401(k), 403 (b), pension funds, IRAs, Keogh plans.)
  • A family business that has 100 or fewer employees.
  • The value of a farm that the family lives on and operates.