In an earlier blog we discussed the materials you’ll need to have readily available to complete your FAFSA form and the timeframe you should follow to maximize your chances of receiving as much federal funding as possible. (Submit no later than March 1st, the earlier the better.)

Just as important as submitting your forms on time is making sure that they’re mistake-free because mistakes can often delay your application by as much as three weeks and can greatly affect the amount of money you receive. Avoid making these common errors:

  • Leaving answers blank instead of entering a “0” or “Not Applicable” for questions that don’t apply to you. This is the single most common error made on the FAFSA.
  • Listing too much information, such as home equity values and retirement or business assets, all of which you aren’t required to submit.
  • Mistaking adjusted gross income for total income. In most cases, AGI is larger, but if you have any questions, be sure to call the toll-free number listed below or confer with someone in the financial industry.
  • Answering financial questions with cents instead of rounding to the nearest dollar. This can lead to miscalculations.
  • Checking anything other than “high school” as your highest level of education completed if you’ve taken some college courses but have yet to graduate. In many cases, freshman college students are more likely to receive funding than those who are considered to be transfer students.

Most of the more common mistakes are easily avoidable, provided you pay very close attention to the instructions and the questions asked of you. (And if anything is still unclear, call 1-800-4-FED-AID [1-800-433-3243] to clarify.) The bottom line is, CHECK YOUR WORK! Remember, the few moments it takes to ensure your form is error-free can make a substantial difference in the amount of money you receive. And, as always, feel free to contact us at College Primers at 303.526.9777, Ext. 11, or if you require assistance or have any remaining questions about completing the FAFSA. Good luck!

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