The FAFSA is the form college students fill to get financial aid from the federal government. All personal and financial information that you fill in your form must be accurate at the time of submitting of your FAFSA. The federal government uses this information to calculate your EFC or Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Your EFC is then used to calculate how much aid you will be offered. The FAFSA requires tax returns from two years prior, but a lot can change in that amount of time. So when should you update your FAFSA? How do you to it?
First, here’s a look at some of the more common circumstances where students’ financial situations may change.
Circumstances That Warrant Updating Your Financial Situation
These may be grouped under four categories:
Income and Cash Flow
- Family member or independent student’s recent unemployment
- A household wage earner’s physical or mental incapacitation
- A household wage earner’s disability, serious illness or death
- Reduction in household income, including when a student quits a job to attend school full time
- A household wage earner’s incarceration or institutionalization
- Income that varies every year because of commissions or freelance nature of the job
- Medical, dental or nursing home expenses not covered by insurance
- Special needs or other dependent-care expenses not covered by insurance
- Unusually high expenses related to child, elderly or dependent care
- Damage or loss of primary residence due to natural disasters
Changes in Child Support & Other Benefits
- Reductions in child support
- End of child support when child reaches the age of majority
- Reduced Social Security or other federal, state, or local means-tested benefits
- Separation or divorce
- S. Armed Forces activation of a parent or student
- Change in housing status that results in homelessness
If your financial situation has changed after submitting your application, here’s what you need to do.
How to Update Your Changed Financial Situation on Your FAFSA
If you need to correct a mistake or update any information, login to your FAFSA.gov account. On the My FAFSA page, there’s a section to make corrections.
Don’t wait to update your FAFSA. Do this as soon as your circumstances change and you have the necessary supporting documents. Try to submit any necessary changes before your state’s FAFSA deadline.
As a rule, always update the FAFSA about any changes in your financial situation as early as possible to avoid any delays. Don’t just go by the list above as the FAFSA may change the rules. Check the FAFSA website for the latest information and assistance.