Part: 2 - - The Application Process
SectionTitle: Making Changes
If a student's SAR or ISIR data is incorrect, it must be corrected or updated. An FAA may recalculate the student's EFC for the federal campus-based and loan 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 1998-99 for exceptions to this rule. (Please note that corrections to a student's SSN must always be reported back to the CPS for data match purposes.)
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 CPS. To correct application errors, a student may make the correction on his or her SAR or have his or her school use the EDE system.
For instance, a dependent student mistakenly reports her parents' total taxable income ($24,000) rather than their AGI ($19,000). The student must have her school make the correction through EDE or must make the correction herself on Part 2 of the SAR under the column headed "WRITE IN ONLY NEW OR CORRECTED INFORMATION" and must return the signed SAR to the CPS.
Please note that even if a school did not transmit a student's application via EDE, the school can still make the corrections electronically if the student brings the corrected information to the school. If the school was not included on the student's SAR or SAR Information Acknowledgement, the school must be certain to add itself in the next available institution field. In the event that all six of the institution fields have been used, the school must determine from the applicant which of the original six should be replaced with the new school's name and Title IV School Code.
If the student's corrections are 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 school must collect documentation before sending data to the CPS.
The student may not update income or asset information to reflect changes to his or her family's financial situation if those changes took place after the FAFSA was filed. For example, if the same student's family sold some stock after the student filed a FAFSA and spent the 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.
However, a student must update dependency status if it changes after filing (unless it changed because of a change in the student's marital status). Dependency status must be updated regardless of whether the student was selected for verification.
If a student is selected for verification, he or she must update the number of family members (household size) and number of college students in the household, unless those items changed as a result of a change in the student's marital status. If an applicant is not selected for verification, household size and number in postsecondary education cannot be updated. (Verification was explained on pages 20-21.)
Any changes in dependency status, household size, or number of college students in the household can be reported on the SAR or through EDE. Remember, a student cannot update any of these three items if it changes as a result of a change in marital status.
FAFSA Processing Errors
If a student believes that the CPS incorrectly entered data from his or her application or from a submitted correction, the student can call the FSAIC and request a review of his file. An FSAIC counselor will look at an image of the student's form to determine whether the CPS made an error. If the CPS made an error, the counselor can make the correction immediately. The correction will be transmitted to the CPS within 72 hours. The schools the student listed on his or her application will receive a corrected ISIR, and the student will receive a corrected SAR in the mail within 10 days. The FSAIC, however, cannot change any data except data that the CPS entered incorrectly.
Adding a School
If a student wants to have his or her application information sent to an additional school after filing a FAFSA, the student may correct the SAR to add that school. (See Part 3, Section H of this handbook for additional information on adding a school.) The student also has the option of calling the FSAIC's toll number (1-319/337-5665) to request changes in his or her address or in the schools (Title IV School Codes) to which ISIRs are to be sent. The student will need to provide his or her DRN from the SAR. A student can also update his or her address or schools by sending a signed, written request to the CPS, or he or she can use the form in Action Letter #3 (GEN 97-13) to make these changes.