Most schools require parents to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, form when applying for financial aid. The form is sent to a central processing facility where information is then made available to schools. That makes applying for financial aid handy but if you make a mistake on the form, it may be rejected, and the delay could cost you thousands of dollars. In some cases electronic systems notice and alert you to simple errors; in other cases you won't find out until later that the form was filled out incompletely or inaccurately. If applying for financial aid in a timely fashion is critical to ensuring your child can attend a college or simply to help you pay for that expense take the time to review the FAFSA form very carefully before you submit it. Don't assume the "system" will quickly alert you to any mistakes.