Mistakes happen. But to ensure the best possible financial aid awards, itâ€™s important for you (or your parents) to avoid these common errors when completing the . Follow these simple instructions to avoid delays in the processing of your financial aid awards.
Also be sure to watch our . If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail CIA Student Financial and Registration Services or call us at 845-451-1500. Weâ€™re here to help!
Error: One of the most common errors is use of the incorrect website when completing the FAFSA.Tip: Be sure to use the federal website . The FAFSA website is free and looks like this:
Error: Completing the FAFSA only one time at the beginning of your program and never again.Tip: A FAFSA should be completed for every award year you will be attending school. FAFSA award years run from July 1 to June 30 of every year.
Error: You try to start a FAFSA without a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID).Tip: You must create a FSA ID in order to start or log into your FAFSA. To create a FSA ID, go to: .
Error: Your Social Security Number is inaccurate when you create your FSA ID.Tip: Make sure your SSN is accurate when completing the FSA ID. Double-check the SSN on the first page of the FAFSA, as well. It will cause a delay in processing if it is incorrect.
Error: A parent enters his/her own information in the student section.Tip: The words â€śyouâ€ť and â€śyourâ€ť on the FAFSA always refer to the student.
Error: The full name you enter into the FAFSA does not match your Social Security card.Tip: It is important to match your name exactly as it appears on your Social Security card.
Error: You choose the incorrect grade level for the school year.Tip: You should select the grade level of the year you are attending the CIA. If you are a freshman student, you should select â€ś1st year undergraduate and has never attended college.â€ť If you are a transfer student and unsure of the year you are in, contact an SFRS advisor at 845-451-1500.
Error: The â€śdegree or certificateâ€ť question is answered incorrectly.Tip: Be sure to select the correct degree you plan to obtain in the current year. If you are enrolled to start the Culinary Arts or Baking and Pastry Arts program, select â€śAssociate degree (occupational or technical program).â€ť You should select â€ś1st bachelorâ€™s degreeâ€ť only if you are enrolled or already in the BPS (bachelorâ€™s) program level.
Contact a SFRS advisor at 845-451-1500 if you are unsure of what to select.
Error: You select â€śYesâ€ť to the question if you will be working on a masterâ€™s or doctorate program.Tip: If you are pursuing an associate degree, bachelorâ€™s degree, or enrolling in a certificate program at CIA, you should answer â€śNoâ€ť to this question.
Error: You indicate you have a child but do not actually provide financial support for that child.Tip: If you have a child and that child is fully or mostly supported (51% or more) by your parent(s) or someone else, then you do not have a â€śdependentâ€ť and should answer â€śNoâ€ť to this question.
Error: You answer â€śYesâ€ť to the question asking if you are a ward of the court, but that does not actually apply to you.Tip: If you answer â€śYesâ€ť to this question, you will be asked by SFRS to provide court documents to support your answer. Be prepared with any necessary supporting documents.
Error: You answer â€śYesâ€ť to the question asking if you are in legal guardianship, but that does not actually apply to you.Tip: This does not apply to students who are dependents of their biological or adoptive parents. You will be asked by SFRS to provide supporting documents if you answer â€śYesâ€ť to this question.
Error: You answer â€śYesâ€ť to the question asking if you are homeless or at risk of being homeless when you have not actually been in that condition.Tip: You can only be considered homeless if you have had absolutely no shelter and no financial support within the time frame given in this question.
Error: You skip the Parent section. (Dependent students only)Tip: If you are a dependent student, do not skip the parental information section. Your eligibility for aid will not be calculated if you do not fill this section in.
Error: Household size information is entered incorrectly. (Independent students only)Tip: As an independent student, be sure to include any dependents that you financially support (51% or more). Be sure to include your spouse if you are married. Please contact SFRS at 845-451-1500 if you are unsure of the correct household size to enter.
Error: You complete the parent section but are an independent student.Tip: If the FAFSA says you are an independent student, do not complete the parent section.
Error: You indicate your parent is divorced but is actually re-married.Tip: If your parent has re-married, and is currently still married, you must select â€śMarriedâ€ť as the answer and include the information of the step-parent as well.
Error: Household size information is entered incorrectly. (Dependent students only)Tip: As a dependent student, be sure to include your parent(s) and any siblings that your parent(s) financially supports within the time frame given in the question. Please contact SFRS at 845-451-1500 if you are unsure of the correct household size to enter.
Error: You leave answers blank in the financial information section.Tip: Do not leave any questions blank and do not skip any sections of the financial information section. If a question does not apply to you, enter â€ś0.â€ť
Error: Your parents are divorced or separated but you enter the parent that has not lived with you within the past year.Tip: You must provide information about the parent you have lived with the most within the previous 12 months. If that is not a clear answer, please contact SFRS at 845-451-1500.
Error: You are not sure what the financial questions mean and fabricate numbers.Tip: Avoid doing this at all costs. If you are unsure what a question means, follow these steps:
Error: You do not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) even though it is available.Tip: If you answer â€śNoâ€ť to all of the questions displayed below, you will see a button â€śLink to the IRS.â€ť Select this button before moving to the next page on the FAFSA. This tool is very helpful in providing quick and accurate figures on the FAFSA.
Error: You do not have your parent sign the FAFSA. (Dependent students only)Tip: The FAFSA cannot be processed completely without your parentâ€™s signature. Be sure to have your parent sign the FAFSAâ€”the original FAFSA and any corrected FAFSAs submitted at a later date. In order for both the student and parent to sign the FAFSA, they must each create a .
Error: You select that you are the â€śPreparerâ€ť for the application.Tip: Do not select â€śYesâ€ť for this if you are a student or parent completing the FAFSA. A â€śpreparerâ€ť would be a third party who completes the FAFSA for you.