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Tips on Completing the FAFSA

Do's and Don'ts When Completing the FAFSA

Tips and Frequent FAFSA Errors

Our office has compiled a list of tips and the most common errors we encounter as we review FAFSAs. We encourage you to carefully review the instructions for each FAFSA question located on the right side of the screen as you complete the FAFSA on the Web.

The following "FAFSA Steps" corresponds with the FAFSA application. Common errors are found under each "FAFSA Step" below.

FAFSA Step One (Student Demographic Information)

Do answer 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 you have 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

Don't report these types of assets on the FAFSA.

  • Do not include the value of the home you live in.
  • Do not include the value of tax-sheltered retirement plans (i.e. 401(k), 403 (b), pension funds, IRA's, Keogh plans.)
  • Do not report a family business that has 100 or fewer employees.
  • Do not include the value of a family farm you live on and operate.