Compare Colleges Find Scholarships Financial Literacy College Pulse

Categorized | Financial Aid

Email Message Sent In Error To FAFSA Filers Nationwide

Completing the FAFSA is the single most important step a family can take when trying to access funds to help cover educational expenses. Quite a bit of emphasis is put on families to complete the FAFSA as soon as possible. As a matter of fact, the FAFSA process allows for estimated tax information to be submitted if a family has not yet filed their taxes with the IRS.

Families that choose to submit estimated tax figures are required, utilizing information from their tax forms or via the IRS Data Retrieval Tool,  to go back into the FAFSA portal later and submit actual figures. The Department of Education sends reminders out to these families but for some odd reason they decided to send that notification out yesterday.

So, if you got that notification/email (see below), don’t worry, don’t despair, don’t call your financial aid office…you are fine. Just don’t forget to submit your actual figures after you file your taxes.

Email below has been graciously provided by one of our regular contributors, Mr. Randy Green.


Subject: Important – Updates Needed for Your FAFSA


When you completed your 2012-2013 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you indicated that you were going to file your taxes and were providing estimated 2011 tax information.  Now that the federal tax filing deadline has passed and you have probably filed your 2011 tax returns, it is time for you to update your FAFSA.

You can update your FAFSA at  You should change your answer on the FAFSA (question 32) to reflect that you have “already completed” your tax return.  Once you’ve made this change, you will need to update the information you initially reported on the FAFSA to reflect the actual information from the 2011 tax return you filed.  If you filed a federal tax return with the IRS, when you access your FAFSA online, you may be eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which is the best and easiest way to provide accurate tax information.  With just a few simple steps, you can view information from your IRS tax return and transfer that information directly into your FAFSA.

If you are unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you are still required to update the income information on your FAFSA so that it reflects the information on the 2011 tax return you filed.  The tax-related questions you should review on your FAFSA include adjusted gross income, income tax paid, number of exemptions, and income earned from work.  You should also ensure that your FAFSA correctly identifies the type of tax return that was filed (IRS 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ, foreign tax return, etc.) and that you have entered the correct amounts for Additional Financial Information (questions 43a-f) and Other Untaxed Income (questions 44a-j).

It is important that you make the necessary changes to the tax information so that your FAFSA includes the same information that was included on your tax return.  However, when making corrections based on your completed federal tax returns, do not update other information that was correct at the time you filed your FAFSA.  For example, do not change your answer for household size (question 93) or for number in college (question 94); unless your answer was incorrect as of the date your FAFSA was originally signed.

Your ability to receive federal student aid can be impacted if you do not make the necessary updates or corrections.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.  If you have additional questions regarding the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, online help is available.  Visit and click the “Browse Help” feature on the FAFSA home page for information on the tool and the FAFSA process.

U.S. Department of Education

Federal Student Aid

RSS Subscribe Did you like this article? You can get all the latest articles sent to you by entering your email address in the box below and clicking "Subscribe." Your email will only be used for this subscription and you can unsubscribe at any time. You can also Follow Us on Twitter!

One Response to “Email Message Sent In Error To FAFSA Filers Nationwide”

  1. ChrisD says:

    “don’t call your financial aid office…you are fine”

    No, you really aren’t fine. This is an example of how badly the government is run. I laughed when I saw the email at first because it was such a big blunder, but then I realized that more of my tax dollars are going nowhere.

    There are no consequences to their mistakes.