Posted Date: March 18, 2019

Author:  Federal Student Aid

Subject: Reminder of Valid Signature Rules for Printed FAFSA® Signature Pages

Federal Student Aid wishes to remind financial aid administrators (FAAs) of the general rules and requirements when assessing the validity of student and parent signatures on fafsa.gov paper signature pages. By providing this information, we hope to augment the overall guidance FAAs provide for this process when assisting applicants and their parents with Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form completion.

Background

Applicants and parents of dependent applicants can sign the FAFSA form by printing, signing, and mailing a signature page. The student signature should match the student name printed on the signature page. The parent signature should be from one of the individuals whose information was provided in parental FAFSA data fields. Signature pages must also contain an original signature (no photocopies of signatures are acceptable).

For the 2019–20 school year, signature pages should be mailed to:

Federal Student Aid Programs
P.O. Box 7656
London, KY 40742-7656

When FSA receives a paper signature page via U.S. mail, the signature page is evaluated to determine if signatures are valid before they are designated as received in the system. Signature pages are rejected if they do not contain applicant or parent signatures OR if the signatures on the page do not meet specific rules and guidelines.

The next two sections provide more information on what is considered a valid or invalid signature.

Valid Signatures on the Signature Page

A valid signature requires a minimum of a title, first name or initial, and a last name. Acceptable signature examples for an applicant or parent named “June H. Brown” include Mrs. Brown, June Brown, J.H. Brown, J. Brown, or J.H.A. Brown. The only exception is when the student or parent only has a first name or last name and indicates this in writing on the signature page.

Additional acceptable and valid signature types include the following:

  • An X, thumbprint, fingerprint, or mark will be construed as a legal signature if noted as such on the document, as long as it is also noted and supported by one witness.

  • Printed (non-cursive) signatures are accepted.

  • Signatures that run together with no spaces (i.e., “JaneSueDoe”) are accepted.

  • Signature accompanied by a power of attorney document is acceptable, provided power of attorney is not limited.  If power of attorney is questionable, the signature page is referred to Federal Student Aid for further evaluation.

  • A signature from an FAA or a high school counselor is an acceptable substitute for a parental signature if due to one or more of the following:

    • Parent(s) is not currently in the U.S., and unable to be contacted by normal means of communication.
    • The whereabouts of the parent(s) is unknown.
    • Parent(s) is mentally or physically unable to sign.

    Note: A parenthetical or attached note indicating why the FAA or counselor has signed on behalf of the parent is required for this to be considered a valid signature.

Do not include any other documentation with the mailed signature page unless noted above.

Invalid Signatures on the Signature Page

The following types of applicant or parent signatures will result in a rejected signature page:

  • Last name or first name only, unless student or parent has indicated he/she has only one name (i.e., signature page only shows one name for student or parent and there is a notation on the form by student or parent that indicates they only have one name);

  • Initials only (i.e., “JHS”);

  • Typed or stamped name;

  • Photocopied signature;

  • The words “father,” “mother,” or “dead” instead of signature;

  • Comments like “none” or “not applicable”; and

  • Signature of a legal guardian.

Additional Signature Options

The FAFSA form can also be signed electronically by the applicant and/or parent using an FSA ID during the completion of the application process. This is the most common means of conveying applicant and/or parent signatures associated with fafsa.gov submissions.

Alternatively, if the FAFSA form is rejected due to missing signatures, the applicant can contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) to request a copy of the Student Aid Report (SAR), which can be signed, as needed, and mailed back to process the required signatures.

Contact Information

If your students or their parents have questions regarding the 2019–20 fafsa.gov website or the signature page process, they can contact FSAIC 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243) or by email at FederalStudentAidCustomerService@ed.gov. TDD/TTY service is also available at 1-800-730-8913.

   

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