To Receive federal student aid funds, a student must have a valid Social Security number. The Central Processing System (CPS) conducts a match with Social Security Administration (SSA) records to determine that the student's SSN is valid and that the name and date of birth associated with that number corresponds with the information provided on the FAFSA. The Department also uses this match to confirm whether or not the student is a U.S. citizen. Except for citizens of the Freely Associated States, the CPS won't process an application without a SSN.
No Match on the Social Security Number
If the SSN the student reported is not found in the SSA database, the student's application will be rejected and the student will receive a comment on the Student Aid Report (SAR) to correct the SSN or to contact SSA if he or she believes the SSN to be correct.
If the student reported the wrong SSN on the original FAFSA, it is strongly recommended that the student file a new FAFSA, rather than trying to correct the original application information. One reason for this recommendation is that the SSN as reported on the student's initial FAFSA of the award year makes up part of his or her student identifier. Even if the SSN is corrected on a subsequent transaction, the identifier will still use the SSN as initially reported. This could cause a problem if the first incorrect number belongs to another aid filer for that award year. It also may cause confusion in communicating information to other Department systems such as NSLDS or the Common Origination and Disbursement System.
No Match on Name or Birth Date
If the student's SSN is in the SSA database, but the name or date of birth doesn't match SSA records, the application will not be rejected. Mis-spellings and name changes due to marriage are common reasons for a non-match. If the name or date of birth is incorrect on the SAR, the student should submit corrections to the CPS.