Financial Aid Tips


  • Do your own FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Do not pay to complete a FAFSA. FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid; therefore you are not required to pay anything to complete it. If you enter a website that claims you must make a payment to apply, then you are in the wrong website and need to get out immediately. Scams exist all over the internet and you do not want to risk your identity or your credit card number being stolen. The correct site to enter is

  • Keep your Federal Student Aid userid and password in a secure place. Do not reveal your FSA ID to ANYONE, even if that person is helping you fill out the FAFSA. The only time you are to use your FSA ID safely is on a secure U.S. Department of Education website.

  • Review the Student Aid Report (SAR) you receive after submitting your FAFSA. Review it to make sure all questions are answered and all answers are accurate. If there are unanswered questions or inaccurate answers, then you risk your eligibility to be inaccurately calculated. You may make changes to your FAFSA by going back to and select to make changes on your FAFSA.

  • Use your Federal Taxes and other important documents in order to complete the FAFSA. Please be sure to keep copies of all paperwork used to complete your FAFSA in case you are prompted to submit that paperwork to the Universities Financial Aid Department. Make sure to include ALL of your W2s, 1099s, etc.

  • Check to see if you have been selected for Verification and review your SAR Report. Your SAR will tell you in the comments if you have been selected or not. You may also look at your Expected Family Contribution Number (EFC #) located on your SAR, if the number has an asterisk (*) next to it, then you have been selected.

  • Additional website to consult while planning to receive Federal Aid: These are all U.S. Department of Education website so they are safe and secure to visit.


Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Leaving information blank. Leaving information unanswered forces the US Department of Education to make “assumptions.” These assumptions do not necessarily mean that the information is correct. If assumptions are made, then your aid eligibility may not be accurately calculated. Please be sure to answers all questions fully and honestly. 

  • Misunderstanding the question. This mistake correlates with the first mistake. Typically a question is left blank due to not fully understanding what the question is asking. If there are questions you are not sure about, then please do not hesitate to find out. You may call FAFSA at 1-800-4-FED-AID, contact your desired Universities Financial Aid Department, or consult the Q & A’s at 

  • Choosing the incorrect grade level. A lot of students select that they are working towards a Graduate/Professional Degree and are a Graduate Student. If you have not earned a baccalaureate degree, then you are not a Graduate Student. Selecting that you are a graduate student will code you as ineligible for the Federal Pell Grant; therefore you will never accurately be awarded. If you are still confused on what grade level you are at and what degree you are pursuing please consult with the University and we will help you out. 

  • Selecting the wrong Marital Status. Please be sure that this question is the most recent status. If you have married, then you are not eligible to select Single as your Marital Status. If a situation affects your Marital Status within the year, please do not change the Marital Status on your FAFSA- consult with your Universities Financial Aid Department first. 

  • NOT Reading your SAR (Student Aid Report). This report DOES tell you what errors exist. These errors must be addressed before your FAFSA can be processed. It does NOT tell you how much Federal Aid you will be receiving. Only the schools you have listed will calculate your aid. 

  • Assuming you are Independent. You are NOT Independent simply because you live on your own, file your own taxes, or receive no support from your parents. These are not legitimate situations to be considered Independent. Please consult the Q & A’s found at 

  • Not Submitting documents on time!! **This is probably the most common mistake made.  It can take up to six weeks for us to receive your FAFSA (especially if there are problems) and six – eight weeks for verification to be complete once all paperwork has been received. Help us, help you, by doing our FAFSA and turning all requested documents as early as possible so aid can be available before classes begin.**

Additional Resources




Financial Aid Office: (318) 473-6423    Email: