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What happens after I submit the FAFSA?

November 30, 2018

So you have finally hit the button signifying submission of the all-important Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Now, it is in your best interest to know what to expect after submitting your FAFSA. Don’t relax just yet...until you are finished with the steps below, of course.


Within 3-5 business days of filing your FAFSA, you will receive your SAR (Student Aid Report) via email or 7-10 business days via regular, old-fashioned mail carrier if no email was provided. At that point, you will be able to see any problems or issues that may need to be resolved, along with detailed instructions on how to resolve them. The SAR will also contain any further information that may need to be provided, including additional income documentation.  


Once you receive your SAR, make sure to review it thoroughly, verifying that all of the information is correct. It will also contain your financial student aid history which makes it handy to keep track of all of this important information in one place. It is also important that you check in with the individual schools that you listed on your FAFSA application. Some schools may also require additional information or documentation to complete your financial aid profile, and ultimately your financial aid award.


In addition, the SAR will list your EFC (Expected Family Contribution) that is also sent to the colleges and universities that you chose when filling out your FAFSA. Your EFC calculation is not the amount that you and your family will necessarily have to pay out of pocket. It is the number that financial aid advisors will use to guide them in assessing a comprehensive financial aid package. A package can include grants, student loans, and work-study opportunities.


How do I correct wrong info on my FAFSA?

In order to correct any information on your FAFSA, you can simply go back to the FAFSA homepage and edit your information. Then, as before, you will receive a (newly updated) SAR report via email within 3-5 days. After submitting corrections or additional information that may inevitably change your financial profile, it is important to check in again with the colleges you selected to ensure that they do not need additional information on their end to reassess their financial aid decision and your relative award package.

If you believe at this time that you may be able to qualify for a better financial aid award, you may want to consider filing an appeal with the school’s financial aid office. Requesting an appeal may be in your best interest and the timeline and direction of an appeal process is dependent upon the school itself. Knowing this is an option is helpful, however, because it may allow you the ability to demonstrate further need that was not captured in your FAFSA form, even after making any corrections.