11 Mistakes I Don’t Want to Make on the FAFSA

Here we go again:  the last time this household faced down a financial aid deadline, I submitted the CollegeBoard CSS Profile on the day it was due.

The federal aid application, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, goes live January 1, 2012. Before we can submit the online application, we need to register for the FAFSA PIN, complete our 2011 tax returns, and complete the FAFSA worksheet.

Ok, this is going to be another pain in the neck and I want to do it right. So posts like this one:  The Top 10 Most Common FAFSA Mistakes are sure to catch my eye.

The mistakes are worth reading and protecting against, sure. But here’s the 11th potential mistake:  Don’t confuse FAFSA phishing sites with the real thing.

Take a moment and look at that link again. The website URL = http://freefafsagov.com/

Freefafsagov.com. Click to enlarge.

There’s a screenshot of that home page, and the fine print at the bottom reads:

freeFAFSAgov.com is NOT associated in any way with fafsa.ed.gov, the U.S. Department of Education or Federal Student Aid. Copyright © 2011 FAFSA.gov. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy

The real FAFSA website URL = http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/index.htm

Fafsa.ed.gov. Click to enlarge.

Here’s a screenshot of the real FAFSA home page.

The imposter also states in the About page that it is not affiliated with the government site and warns against paying any fee to file the FAFSA.

Hmm. So why mimic the page and include “gov” in the address? This site provides information from the official FAFSA site, presented in a manner somewhat consistent with the official site, providing links to the official site. Are the Google ads worth enough money to make that effort worthwhile?

Don’t confuse me now, I’ve got work to do. Here’s the information I really need, straight from the source:

Important notes on how to answer questions

  • The words “you” and “your” always mean the student.
  • The words “school” and “college” mean a college, university, graduate or professional school, community college, vocational or technical school, or any other school beyond high school.
  • For dollar amounts, round to the nearest dollar and do not include commas or decimal points.
  • For dates, type numbers that correspond to the month, day, and year. Do not use slashes (/). For example, for August 17, 1959, enter 08171959.
  • References to the “school year” mean the school year from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013.
  • Do not mail in notes, tax forms, financial statements, or letters.
  • Contact the financial aid office at your college if you have unusual circumstances.
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3 Comments

Filed under Paying for College

3 responses to “11 Mistakes I Don’t Want to Make on the FAFSA

  1. Pingback: 2012-2013 Student Aid Eligibility Worksheet for Question 23 | FAST FACTS BLOG

  2. Pingback: Catch-22: how and when to complete the FAFSA and your tax returns. | Dr. StrangeCollege or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Journey

  3. Pingback: Why so much concern about making mistakes on the FAFSA? | Dr. StrangeCollege or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Journey

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