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What to Do With Your FAFSA When Your Income Changes for Better Financial Aid Packages?

What to Do With Your FAFSA When Your Income Changes for Better Financial Aid Packages? - College Financial Aid Advisors
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How to Update Your Financial Aid Application to Reflect Your Current Income

One of the most important steps in applying to college is completing the FAFSA, which will open in December. What many families don’t realize is that the FAFSA uses federal income tax information from the previous year to calculate financial aid eligibility. That means on the 2024-2025 FAFSA, numbers will be gathered from your 2022 tax return. Unfortunately, financial situations can change and that means that when families begin to review their expected contribution, they begin to worry about how they’re going to actually pay for college. Today, let’s take a look at some things that you can change on your FAFSA, and then discuss what to do if your financial situation is vastly different from the numbers from last year.

Adjustments You Can Make on Your FAFSA

While most information cannot be changed on the FAFSA form, some information must be updated if it changes year to year.

  • Social Security Number: You must file the FAFSA using a valid Social Security Number. If it is incorrect, you will have to change it. Make sure your name exactly matches that associated with your SSN.
  • Contact Information: You may update your mailing address, email address, and other contact information if it has changed.
  • Dependency Status: You must update anything that changes your dependency status except a change in marital status.
  • Number of Family Members: This may be updated only if you are selected for verification.
  • Number of Household Members: This may be updated only if you are selected for verification.
  • Schools: You may add or delete colleges listed on your FAFSA. Currently, you can add up to 20 schools on your FAFSA.

Making corrections or updates online requires the student to sign in using his or her FSA ID username and password. The parent cannot sign in and make changes to the form. You can make changes to the FAFSA online or contact your college and ask if they can make revisions for you electronically. Write in the corrections or updates on your paper SAR, sign it, and mail it to the address provided on the SAR. If you filed an amended tax return you can also contact the school’s financial aid office to determine if that information can be updated.

Changes That Could Affect Your Financial Aid Award

If your financial situation has changed already this year or changed dramatically since you filed your FAFSA, you need to contact your financial aid office directly, provide details in writing, and submit documentation to support your new circumstances. Some circumstances which might motivate a college to reconsider its calculation include:

  • Job loss or income reduction due to COVID, natural disaster, or other circumstances.
  • Unexpected medical or dental expenses that were not covered by the family’s health insurance.
  • Serious illness, disability, or death of a household income earner or family member.
  • Mental incapacitation of a household wage-earner.
  • Loss of home due to eviction or natural disaster.
  • Marital strain, separation or divorce.
  • Severe reduction in the family’s income or assets.
  • Pregnancy or change in marital status of the student.
  • Change in the number of family size or household members, or a change in the number of household members attending college.

Contact your colleges as soon as possible so they can take this information into consideration when making financial aid award decisions. Any updates in income may impact your student’s possible financial aid package. Additionally, if you’re expecting a gap that you cannot cover, begin searching for scholarships to apply for. Scholarships are great free money for college students!

Who We Are

Jodi helps with the financial aid process, from completing the FAFSA and completing the CSS Profile to reviewing the SAR, responding to requests for verification, comparing financial aid offers and understanding student loan options. Schedule a 15 Minute Power Chat to learn more about finding ways to pay for college. Best College Financial Aid Advisors.

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