FAFSA: What Happens If My Financial Situation Changes?

Close-up of coins falling onto a table.

Flickr user Nick Olejniczak

All your financial and personal details that you submit to your FAFSA must be accurate when you submit it. However, anything can happen from the time you submit the FAFSA to when you receive your financial aid package. Luckily, the FAFSA takes this into account and made provisions for these exact situations.

Financial Changes

If your financial situations change after you have submitted your FAFSA, you can explain your new situation or provide the new details in writing to the Financial Aid Office at the earliest. You must submit the necessary documentation as evidence to support your new circumstances. Don’t wait to do so either. The sooner you submit the new information, the sooner FAFSA updates your application to accurately reflect your current situation.

Some of the more common circumstances under which students’ financial situations may change includes but is not limited to:

  • Household wage earner’s reduction of wages
  • Recent job loss
  • Unexpected medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance
  • Serious illness, disability or death of a household wage earner
  • Mental incapacitation of a household wage-earner
  • Separation or divorce
  • Other changes in the family income or assets
  • Institutionalization or incarceration of a household wage-earner
  • Reductions or end of child support
  • Recent nursing home expenses or special-needs expenses not covered by insurance
  • Damage or loss of residence due to natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, fires, tornadoes, etc.

Regardless of whether or not you see your situation in this list, the important thing to remember is to keep all documentation pertaining to the changes in your financial situation. That makes it easier to get your financial aid package re-evaluated and even hopefully increased. Again, don’t wait to update the FAFSA on any of your changing financial situations!

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