Part: 2 - - The application process for financial aid
SectionTitle: Submitting an initial application
Submitting an initial application
Students must complete the FAFSA accurately. If a student submits a
paper FAFSA, the document must be legible and mailed to the
address specified in the FAFSA in time for the processor to receive it
by the deadline. The same deadlines apply if a student is filing the
FAFSA electronically. (See page 50 for a complete list of deadlines.)
Please caution students that there are no exceptions to the
deadlines. It is important to note that states and schools often set
earlier deadlines in awarding aid from some programs, including the
campus-based programs (Federal Perkins Loans, Federal
Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, and Federal Work-
Study). Students must also keep in mind that eligibility does not
continue year to year and that a FAFSA needs to be filed each year.
If you could give students only one piece of advice as they complete
a FAFSA, it should be to read the instructions. This advice
cannot be overemphasized; most errors are caused by students
making assumptions about what information is being requested.
Careless errors on the application, such as an incorrect Social
Security Number, also cause delays in processing. Such delays
may cause otherwise eligible students to miss the deadline to
qualify for aid.
It is important for students to save all records and other materials
used in completing the FAFSA (including photocopies of their
completed FAFSAs) because they may need them later if either the
Department or their schools select them for a process called
verification (see page 35). Verification is the process by which
students must document what was reported on the FAFSA. Many
schools conduct their own form of verification. Most verification
requires the submission of a copy of signed Federal tax returns from
the student and the parents (if applicable).
Please note that there are situations in which application data may
need to be modified. For example, if a dependent student has unusual
circumstances that warrant it, you may use professional judgement to
override the student's dependency status, as discussed on page 40.