Plan For College

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Falsifying the FAFSA Carries Severe Penalties

Trying to manipulate or falsify financial information on financial aid applications is not only a bad idea, it's illegal and the odds of getting caught are very high.

Providing false or misleading information on the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) carries fines up to $20,000 as well as a possibility of five years in prison. Providing a false name or Social Security number could get you into trouble. Lying about income or not reporting all income is a form of manipulation. 

Chances of getting caught are higher than you might think. Colleges can compare the figures submitted on the FAFSA with the IRS' figures. A red flag gets triggered if the amounts are not comparable. In the past, the U. S. Department of Education required 30% of all families who submitted FAFSA forms to also complete verification forms. Today, however, many colleges will verify more than 80% of submitted FAFSA forms and some colleges will verify 100%.  Misrepresenting or not reporting all of the family’s income normally will not work in getting additional financial aid and can result in reversal of an earlier decision.

Need help completing the FAFSA? Call (781-828-1114) or email College Planning Group ( for a free consultation.

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