1. APPLY EARLY! The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the Renewal Application can be completed as soon as the appropriate tax forms are complete.
  2. Read all printed material. If you do not understand something, call the Office of Financial Aid.
  3. Make a copy of everything you submit.
  4. Keep a folder with all copied materials, instructions, applications, and notifications.
  5. Reply promptly to a request for additional information, even if you think the information has already been provided.
  6. Read the directions for each line as you fill out that line.
  7. Do not leave an item blank. If the answer is zero mark the block “0”.
  8. Use your full name, as it appears on your Social Security card, no nicknames, and no abbreviation. If your name has changed due to a change in marital status, you will need to update your records with the Social Security Administration.
  9. Make sure to answer question 21 - “Are you male” This helps avoid confusion related to Selective Service Registration.
  10. Use your correct birthday and Social Security Number - your form will be rejected if these items are incorrect.
  11. Be sure to answer the question regarding citizenship.
  12. Read the directions carefully regarding household size - the number in the household can include only those persons who get more than half their support from your parents, or you, as appropriate.
  13. The number in college can only include the members of the household who meet the criteria in the directions for items 66 or 85. Do not include your parents if they are also enrolled in a post-secondary institution. This is a change from previous years processing instructions.
  14. Do not estimate income - you must use a completed Federal Tax Return to fill out your FAFSA or Renewal Application. Once you complete your application, mail it, along with SIGNED copies of your income tax returns, W-2’s, and the FAFSA Worksheets to the Valdosta State University Office of Financial Aid for electronic processing.
  15. Untaxed Income - one of the most common misreported items. Read the directions for Worksheet A in the FAFSA instructions. Do not forget to include housing, food, and other living allowances for military personnel and clergy. Items 13 and 14 on the W-2 form shows the correct amount to be included on the FAFSA for untaxed income except for some members of the clergy.
  16. Do not forget to sign the form!! We cannot electronically process your application without the appropriate signatures.  If you file your own application from your personal computer, do not forget to print the signature page and mail it immediately with the proper signatures.
  17. All blocks should be filled out completely, especially blocks 40-47 and 78-83. Unmarked blocks on the form could cause a rejection by the processing center and a delay in applying for financial aid.
  18. If you have any questions about the FAFSA, you should contact your high school counselor or the Office of Financial Aid at the school you wish to attend.