Part: 2 - - The application process for financial aid
SectionTitle: Making changes
If the student's application information on the SAR or ISIR is
incorrect, the information must be CORRECTED OR UPDATED.
A financial aid administrator may recalculate the student's EFC for
the federal campus-based and FFEL programs without having the
student report the corrected or updated information to the processing
system. However, for the Federal Pell Grant Program, in most cases
corrections must be reported to the CPS for recalculation of the EFC.
Please see The Verification Guide 1996-97 for exceptions to this
When a student files a FAFSA, it creates a "snapshot" of the
financial situation of the student's family as of the date the
application was signed. However, errors may occur if a student files
the wrong information on an application or if there are errors in data
entry at the FAFSA processor. A student may use the SAR to correct
most application errors that were made on an initial application or
may make corrections via EDE if his or her school participates in
For instance, a dependent student reports $24,000 taxable income for
her parents on an application filed on March 10, 1996. While
reviewing her application information, she notices that she used her
parents' total taxable income from the tax return, rather than the
adjusted gross income figure, which was $19,000. Since the correct
amount was $19,000, the student must make the correction to this
item electronically through EDE at her institution, or on Part 2 of the
SAR under the column headed "The correct answer is" and return the
SAR to the FAFSA processor.
The student may not, however, update income or asset information to
reflect changes to her family's financial situation that took place after
the FAFSA was filed. For example, if the same student's family sold
some of its stock on June 1 and spent that money on a nonreported
asset such as a car, the student may not update her information to
show a change in the family's assets.
To correct the SAR, the student must enter the correct information
for that line item on Part 2 of the SAR and mail Part 2 back to the
FAFSA processor. The student must sign Part 2 when submitting
corrections; at least one parent of a dependent student must also sign.
Please note that even if a school did not transmit a student's
application via EDE, it can still make the corrections electronically.
If the student's corrections are being made through EDE, the
corrected data is processed by the CPS and an electronic ISIR will be
returned to the school; the student will receive the one-page SAR
Information Acknowledgement. The school must keep signed
documentation for corrections submitted electronically; the
documentation must be collected before the school sends data to
As noted previously, most of the information on the application may
not be updated to reflect changes after the application has been filed.
However, there are three instances when updating of previously
reported information must occur. When an update is required it must
be reported to the CPS if it will affect the amount of a student's
Federal Pell Grant.
- DEPENDENCY STATUS. For all applicants, any change to the
criteria that affect dependency status, except a change in the
student's marital status, must be reported.
- NUMBER OF FAMILY MEMBERS (HOUSEHOLD SIZE).
For applicants selected for verification, either by the CPS or the
school, household size must be updated to the time of verification
except if the change occurred as a result of a change in the
student's marital status.
- NUMBER OF FAMILY MEMBERS IN COLLEGE. For
applicants selected for verification, either by the CPS or the
school, the number of family members in college must be
updated to the time of verification except if the change occurred
as a result of a change in the student's marital status.
Please note that students are now able to use Part 2 of the SAR for
corrections and to report a change in dependency status, rather than
having to start over with a Correction FAFSA.
The only situations in which the Department requires the use of a
Correction FAFSA involve cases in which a student's reported SSN
is duplicated by another student.
Sometimes a student has unusual circumstances that may justify
overriding the dependency status determined by Section D of the
FAFSA. A financial aid administrator may only override an
applicant's dependency status to make a dependent student
independent. The override is not used in reverse, to make an
independent student dependent. (If a financial aid administrator's
information indicates that an independent student is receiving
substantial support from his or her parents, the financial aid
administrator may adjust one or more of the data elements in the
EFC calculation, such as nontaxable income.)
To override dependency status, the financial aid administrator must
fill out the "School Use Only" box in Section H of the FAFSA. The
student fills out the gray and white areas of the form (for
independent students) even though the instructions state that the red
and white areas (for dependent students) should be used. The
financial aid administrator then authorizes the dependency override
by filling in the override code and the school's Title IV Institution
Number, and by signing in the "School Use Only" box. Note that a
separate letter from the financial aid administrator attached to the
application (in lieu of making the override on the FAFSA or the
SAR) is NOT acceptable.
The financial aid administrator may also use the SAR to override
a student's dependency status. To do this, he or she must use the
dependency override box in the "School Use Only" box on Part 2 of
the SAR or through EDE. Check box 1 in the section labeled D/O,
fill in the school's Title IV Institution Number, and sign.
A school may also use the SAR or EDE to cancel a dependency
override performed by another financial aid administrator. He or she
must mark box 2 in the section labeled D/O on the SAR or follow the
prompts provided in EDE software.
All dependency overrides must be on a case-by-case basis, and the
reason for the adjustment must be documented in the student's file.
Note that dependency status override can only be performed when
changing the student's status from dependent to independent.
However, a school may use a SAR or EDE to cancel a dependency
override performed by another financial aid administrator. The
school must mark box 2 in the section labeled D/O on the SAR or
follow the prompts provided in EDE software.
In sum, the financial aid administrator may authorize a dependency
override on the FAFSA, the renewal FAFSA, Part 2 of the SAR, or
via the EDE system.