Tips for Completing or Correcting FAFSA

Getting Started

  • There is no fee to fill out the FAFSA. The FAFSA acronym stands for "Free Application for Federal Student Aid." Online and telephone support is available for assistance in completing the FAFSA (https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/estimate).

  • Beware of companies who charge fees for completing your FAFSA. Some of these companies have been identified as scams; others have been known to provide incorrect advice or fail to meet deadlines.

  • If your FAFSA is submitted after the Priority Deadline, you may receive lower priority consideration for many grants and scholarships.

  • DO NOT enter cents when entering dollar amounts in the income sections of the FAFSA.
  • As long as you submit your FAFSA with correct signatures by March 1, you will be considered on time, even if you make corrections (e.g., use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for taxes filed by April 15) after March 1.

  • Do not wait for an Admissions decision before filling out your FAFSA.

  • Complete all items on the FAFSA application. Use a “0” for items that are not applicable.

  • IMPORTANT: Enter your Social Security Number correctly. If you enter it incorrectly, your SAR (Student Aid Report generated from the FAFSA) will have a reject code and your application will be rejected. You will need to file a new FAFSA, and your aid award could be significantly delayed.

  • The VMI school code is 003753.

  • Report asset figures effective as of the day that you submit the FAFSA. (Please note: do not change these figures in future corrections unless you have specific knowledge that the figures were incorrect on the original filing day.)

  • Include your current email and your physical mailing address.

  • Provide all required electronic signatures. Use your FSA ID (and your parent’s FSA ID if you are a dependent student) to sign the FAFSA application electronically. You may also print, complete, and mail the signature page to the Federal Processor within ten days of submitting your FAFSA. Be aware that mailing in a signature page will delay the processing of your application.)

  • Print or save your confirmation page. This will verify that the Federal processor received your FAFSA.

 

Checking and Making Corrections

Log in to https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/estimate with your FSA ID to check the status of your FAFSA.

  • 3-5 days after submitting your FAFSA if you signed with your FSA ID
  • 7-10 days after submitting your FAFSA if you printed, completed, and mailed in a Signature Page

If your initial 2018-2019 FAFSA submission was before March 1, you may make updates/corrections to the FAFSA after March 1, without losing priority status for financial aid.

Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) as soon as you can.

  • The DRT should be available at www.fafsa.ed.gov approximately three weeks after electronic tax filing.
  • Paper tax filers and tax filers who owe additional taxes on the filing date will not be able to complete the DRT until after April 15.
  • The following are not eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool:
    • Students or parents who are married and filed as Married Filing Separately
    • Students or parents who are married and filed as Head of Household
    • Students or parents filed an amended tax return
    • Students or parents filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return

Please do not send documents (tax forms, W2s, etc.) unless requested.