What to Know About Social Security Numbers and FAFSA
  • 04 Apr 2024
  • 1 Minute to read
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What to Know About Social Security Numbers and FAFSA

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Article Summary

When filling out the Free Application for Student Federal Aid (FAFSA), you will be asked to enter in a Social Security number, most likely the one belonging to your child.

Unfortuntately, this may be when you discover that your child's Social Security number may have been previously used.

More often than not, the reason will not be malicious in nature. It's very common for another person to mistakenly entered in the wrong SSN. However, in some cases, it means a case of identity theft has taken place.

The FAFSA Processing System must validate the SSN with the Social Security Administration for the form to be accepted. Should you find yourself in a situation where it says that a Social Security number has been used to open a FAFSA account, here's what you need to know:

  • FAFSA will only report a Social Security number to a credit reporting agency is when a loan is applied for, thus, freezes and fraud alerts placed on the account will likely stop a fraudulent form from moving forward.
  • Contact FAFSA (1-800-433-3243) and try and clear any discrepencies, which should not impact the form nor hurt the person whose SSN was used.
  • In cases of identity theft, get in touch with the Social Security Administration, the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General Hotline.
  • You can also file a complaint with the Department of Education's Office for Federal Student Aid. Note: The average response time is roughly 15 days and an account will need to be created to file the complaint.
  • If the person who is using the SSN is doing so specifically for their financial aid, you can seek a court judgment to have that person removed.

It's important to move quickly when you discover a Social Security number has been used by someone it does not belong to. A person who is misusing a SSN could conduct other instances of fraud, which can greatly harm a person's credit score and cause considerable harm.

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