Here’s a common question this time of year: “I recently received my Student Aid Report (SAR), and after looking it over I discovered that some changes need to be made to my Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). What should I do?”
If you’re correcting an error you made, log into your FAFSA at fafsa.gov, and then click on “Make FAFSA Corrections.” Some of the most common FAFSA changes made by students are:
- Adding or deleting college codes
- Changing an e-mail or street address
- Making corrections to any field other than your Social Security Number (SSN)
You shouldn’t change any field containing financial information or marital status unless you’re sure that it was entered incorrectly on the application. Use extreme caution on the FAFSA questions that include the phrase “on the day you submitted your FAFSA.” Even though certain figures and circumstances may have changed since you completed your FAFSA, those answers were most likely true on the day you submitted the form.
If you discover that your Social Security Number is incorrect, you can change it in one of two ways:
- Make the correction by hand on a paper copy of your SAR, sign and date it and then send it to Federal Student Aid.
- Ask the financial aid office at one of the colleges listed on your SAR to change it for you.
If you’re not successful in changing your Social Security Number, you’ll need to file a new FAFSA that contains the correct SSN.
To request a copy of your paper SAR or to ask any questions about the FAFSA process, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1.800.433.3243.
In addition to receiving federal and state financial aid, scholarships are a great way to help pay for education beyond high school since scholarships do not have to be repaid. Here are some resources and tips to help you get your search started!
- Complete your FAFSA! Some scholarships require a completed FAFSA to apply.
- Check with the institution you’re attending. Career technology centers, colleges and universities offer scholarships to both incoming freshmen and returning students. Check your school’s website to learn how and when to apply.
- Create an OKcollegestart.org account. The scholarship profile allows you to search over 20,000 scholarships nationwide. Providing your GPA, test scores, interests and activities allows OKcollegestart to match you with scholarships that are most relevant to you.
- Visit UCanGo2.org to search scholarships by deadline so you never miss out on an opportunity. You can also see scholarships with upcoming deadlines based on several categories such as those for members of the military, awards for those interested in the arts and scholarships for adult learners.
- Review Are You Looking for Money? This handy guide provides tips on how to make the most of your scholarship search and provides links to several scholarship search websites.
- Apply, apply, apply! It’s never too early or too late to apply for scholarships. Whether you’re in elementary school or working on your Ph.D., there are scholarships available!
Best of luck!
Are you in a situation that has made you become homeless or at risk of being homeless? The U.S. Department of Education has provided a way to help students in these difficult situations.
In order to determine your dependency status on the 2018-19 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you will have to answer three questions related to homelessness. The first question is: “At any time on or after July 1, 2017, did your high school or school district homeless liaison determine that you were an unaccompanied youth who was homeless or were self-supporting and at risk of being homeless?” The next two questions related to this subject are similar, but they ask if the determination came from a director of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or the director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center or transitional living program.
According to FAFSA guidelines, homeless means lacking fixed, regular and adequate housing. Also, if you are living in this situation and fleeing an abusive parent you may still be considered homeless even if your parent would otherwise provide a place to live. “Unaccompanied” means you’re not living in the physical custody of your parent or guardian.
Answering Yes to one of these questions can give you an independent status on your FAFSA, meaning you wouldn’t have to report your parent’s income information when applying for financial aid for college. If you do answer yes, be prepared to provide a copy of the determination that was made by one of the three people listed above in case the financial aid office at your college should ask you for one. If you haven’t been previously determined to be homeless or at risk of being homeless but believe you meet the qualifications, you should answer “No” and contact the financial aid office at the college, university or career technology center you plan to attend to explain your situation. The financial aid administrator will make a determination and advise you on how to proceed.
Contact your financial aid office if you have questions about homelessness or any other special circumstance that you believe justifies changing your status from dependent to an independent student.