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(Application Processing) Subject: Revised Special Handling Process for FAFSA® Filers Under the Age of 13

Posted Date:August 4, 2016

Author: Lisa DiCarlo, Director, Student Experience Group, Federal Student Aid

Subject: Revised Special Handling Process for FAFSA® Filers Under the Age of 13

In response to comments we received from parents and the community we have revised the special handling process used to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) for applicants under the age of 13. The revised process permits parents to directly download the appropriate award year PDF FAFSA application, complete it, and send the signed application directly to the processing center for processing on behalf of the under age 13 filers.

Since there has been no change in the legal requirements for the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) of 1998 since we first published these special handling procedures on July 18, 2014, you can refer to that electronic announcement for a detailed explanation of the law and how Federal Student Aid’s (FSA) process meets those requirements. However, we would like to remind the community that under age 13 applicants are not to provide an email address on the application nor can they use FOTW to complete and submit an application.

The FAFSA Application Process for Applicants Under Age 13

When a person under the age of 13 wishes to apply for financial aid, his or her parent or legal guardian, financial aid administrator, or high school counselor can visit and click on the FAFSA Filing Options link, select the appropriate award year PDF FAFSA application, download and print the application, complete it, and mail the completed form to the address provided below.

Federal Student Aid Programs
Attn: COPPA/CORR Process Building 3
1084 South Laurel Road
London, KY 40744

After receipt and processing of the paper FAFSA, results are reported to the institutions (and states) using the regular Informational Student Aid Record (ISIR) process. The applicant will receive a paper Student Aid Report (SAR) that, if necessary, could be used to submit corrections. Once the applicant’s institution has received the ISIR, it could submit any required corrections using FAA Access to the CPS Online. Of course, in order to ensure COPPA compliance, an email address should not be entered for the underage applicant as part of the correction process. Finally, for the same reason, an applicant who is under the age of 13 cannot obtain an FSA ID for electronic services from the Department.

Validity of the Student Information Provided on the FAFSA

As we mentioned previously, we expect that financial aid staff will work closely with very young applicants and their families to insure that the applicants understand the information required to be provided on the FAFSA. However, in those situations where there was little or no contact between the underage applicant and institutional staff and the institution has concerns about the information provided by a very young applicant (assuming the underage applicant is not selected for verification by the Department), we remind institutions of their authority under 34 CFR 668.54(a)(3) to require an applicant to verify any FAFSA information that the institution specifies. If the institution believes that an applicant may have not understood the information being requested on the FAFSA or that the responses to the FAFSA questions are unreasonable, the financial aid administrator could require documentation to assure that taxpayer funded Title IV HEA funds are being awarded on correct data.

If you have questions you can contact the Application Processing Division at 1-202-377-4600 or

Last Modified: 08/03/2016