Error: When the online FAFSA validates the Social Security number
online, it's just examining the check digit. You can still enter a
wrong Social Security number.
The Social Security number does not include a check digit. This is a
key flaw in the design of Social Security numbers, which causes digit
transpositions and substitutions to yield someone else's Social
The online validation of Social Security numbers is based on a
database comparison with the Social Security Administration. The name,
date of birth and Social Security number must match. This is why it is
important to use your legal name as it appears on your Social Security
card, not a nickname.
Error: There is a $10,000 fine for fraud on the FAFSA.
The fine is $20,000, not $10,000, per 20 USC 1097(a), which states
"Any person who knowingly and willfully embezzles, misapplies, steals,
obtains by fraud, false statement, or forgery, or fails to refund any
funds, assets, or property provided or insured under this subchapter
and part C of subchapter I of chapter 34 of title 42 or attempts to so
embezzle, misapply, steal, obtain by fraud, false statement or
forgery, or fail to refund any funds, assets, or property, shall be
fined not more than $20,000 or imprisoned for not more than 5 years,
or both, ..."
The criminal penalties for fraud are also mentioned as part of the
signature statement on the print and online versions of the FAFSA.
Error: The age of the older parent is used to lookup in a
The FAFSA does not use mortality tables as part of need analysis.
Rather, the age of the older parent is used to determine the size of
the Asset Protection Allowance. The asset protection allowance is
based on the present value cost of an annuity which would provide
supplemental income at age 65, adjusted for inflation, equal to the
difference between a moderate family income (as determined by the
Bureau of Labor Statistics) and the current average Social Security
Error: The financial aid formula's income protection allowance for
a child is $3,200 plus 50 cents of every dollar.
The income protection allowance for a dependent student for 2012-13 is
$6,000. Half of all student income above the income protection
allowance will increase the expected family contribution (EFC),
thereby reducing aid eligibility. The income protection allowance has
never been $3,200. It was $3,080 in 2008-09 and increased to $3,750 in
2009-10, $4,500 in 2010-11 and $5,250 in 2011-12.