Many or all companies we feature compensate us. Compensation and editorial
research influence how products appear on a page.
Student Loans

How to Add More Than 20 Schools to the FAFSA

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) determines your eligibility for financial aid when attending college. When you fill out the FAFSA, you’ll need to list all the colleges, universities, and career schools that you want to receive your information. The Department of Education limits the number of schools you can add. 

However, you can use a workaround to add more schools to FAFSA applications. That’s helpful to know if you don’t know which school you want to attend and want to ensure all the colleges you apply to can consider you for financial aid. 

How many schools can you add to FAFSA? 

If you’re completing the 2024-25 FAFSA online, you can add up to 20 schools on your application. If you’re filling out a FAFSA PDF, the limit is 10 schools. These totals were increased from 10 and 4, respectively in 2023.

If you want to list more than 20 schools on your FAFSA, you can’t do it all at one time. But there is a way to ensure that every school you’re considering receives your information. Remember that you don’t need to have applied to a school to list them on your FAFSA. 

How to add schools to FAFSA

Adding more schools to FAFSA is a fairly straightforward process. It may be helpful to write down a list of all the schools you want to receive your information before starting your application so that you can cross off the ones you’ve added as you go. 

Assuming you’ve completed the FAFSA, there are three ways to add more schools to your form.

Note that you must wait until your submitted FAFSA has been processed before adding more schools. This takes one to three days for electronic forms and seven to 10 days for paper forms.

Here’s how to add more than 20 schools, step-by-step, using each option. 

Option 1: Add schools online

  1. Login to
  2. Navigate to the Status Center dashboard and select “My Activity.”
  3. On the “Details” page, select “Add or Remove Schools.”
  4. Remove the school codes listed and replace them with codes for the schools you want to add. 
  5. Submit your corrections for processing. 

Option 2: Add schools over the phone

  1. Contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-433-3243.
  2. Provide with the Data Release Number (DRN) from your FAFSA Submission Summary. 
  3. Tell it which school codes to remove and which new ones to add.
  4. Have it submit your corrections for processing. 

Option 3: Mail in your changes

  1. Locate your paper FAFSA Submission Summary. 
  2. Replace the schools listed on your summary with the new ones you want to add.
  3. Mail the form back to the Department of Education. 

With this last option, you can only replace three schools, not all 20. 

Essentially, what you’re doing with any of these options is swapping out one or more school codes for another. Technically, there could only be 20 schools listed on your FAFSA at any time, but any schools you’ve previously shared your details with would still have them for aid purposes. 

Does the order you list schools on the FAFSA matter?

It may for state aid eligibility, though it doesn’t affect your federal aid eligibility. If you’re interested in getting state financial aid, you’ll need to check the rules for your state

For example, if you’re applying to schools in Massachusetts, grant aid is awarded based on the first school listed on your FAFSA. If you update your list of schools later, you’d need to contact the state’s financial aid agency to notify them of the changes.

Similar rules apply in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. 

How to decide which schools to add to the FAFSA

If you’re unsure where you plan to attend school, deciding which ones to include on the FAFSA may feel overwhelming. These tips can help you decide which schools to add and when. 

  • Add public colleges first. If you’re interested in state-based aid, you must have at least one eligible in-state school listed on your FAFSA. Adding a public school first can ensure you’re considered for grants and other state aid. 
  • Check financial aid deadlines. The annual FAFSA deadline is June 30, but schools may have earlier deadlines you may need to meet for work-study or other types of aid. If you want to increase your chances of qualifying for aid at schools with early deadlines, you’d want to list those on your FAFSA first, then update your form later to include schools with later deadlines. 
  • Review average aid packages. If your goal is getting the most financial aid possible, you may want to compare the average award packages at different schools. Look at the amount of aid offered to the typical student and the type of aid, which can include loans, grants, and scholarships. 

Who should complete the FAFSA?

Michael Menninger


I encourage the students to participate in completing the FAFSA as much as possible—it is a good process for the student to learn, much like doing taxes. However, some parents may wish to maintain secrecy regarding their finances and may choose to do it themselves.

Can you change the list of schools on your FAFSA?

You can change the list of schools on your FAFSA, and you don’t need to notify schools that you’re making changes. However, you should be aware that while any schools you’ve removed would still have access to the information included on your form initially, they wouldn’t be able to see any updates or corrections. 

That’s important if you need to change something else on your FAFSA later, such as your parents’ income and asset information or your dependency status. Changes of that nature could affect your financial aid eligibility so you’d need to let any schools you’ve removed know about them. 

You have until mid-September to change your FAFSA, including adding schools. You’d need to be aware of early state deadlines when adding schools if you’re hoping to qualify for state-based grants or other types of aid. Should your aid package fall short, you might consider private student loans to fill the gap.