5 Things To Do After Filing Your FAFSA

After the FAFSA

Congratulations! You submitted your 2016–17 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®)! Wondering what happens next? Here are a few things to look out for:

1. Review Your Student Aid Report (SAR)

After you submit your FAFSA, you’ll get a Student Aid Report (SAR). Your SAR is a summary of the FAFSA data you submitted. Once you have submitted your FAFSA, you’ll get your SAR within three days (if you signed your FAFSA online) or three weeks (if you mailed a signature page.)

View your SAR

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Any student with an FSA ID can view and print his or her SAR by logging in to fafsa.gov and clicking on the appropriate school year. This is also where you can check the status of your application if you have not received your SAR yet. Once you get your SAR, you should review it carefully to make sure it’s correct and complete.

2. Review Your EFC

When reviewing your SAR, look for the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)  number. Your EFC can be found in the box at the top of the first page of your SAR, under your Social Security number.

Your EFC is a measure of your family’s financial strength and is calculated according to a formula established by law. This formula considers the following about you (and your parents, if you’re dependent):

  • Taxed and untaxed income
  • Assets
  • Benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security)
  • Family size
  • Number of family members who will attend college during the year

Schools use your EFC to determine your federal student aid eligibility and your financial aid award. However, it’s important to remember that your EFC is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college nor is it the amount of federal student aid you will receive. It is a number used by your school to calculate how much financial aid you are eligible to receive. Contact your school’s financial aid office if you have any questions about how they calculate financial aid.

3. Make Corrections If You Need To

It’s important to make sure that everything on your FAFSA is correct and complete, as your school may ask you to verify some of the information. Most of the questions on the FAFSA want to know your situation as of the day you sign the FAFSA. However, there are some instances in which you’ll want to (or be required to) change the information you reported.

Make FAFSA Corrections

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TIP: You must wait for your most recent FAFSA submission to process before you can update or make corrections to your FAFSA. That usually take about three days.

Do you need to update any information?

  • Log in with your FSA ID.
  • Click “Make FAFSA Corrections.”
  • Corrections should be processed in 3–5 days and you should receive a revised SAR.
  • After you click “SUBMIT” you cannot make another correction until your FAFSA has been processed successfully.

Did you submit your FAFSA using income and tax estimates?

  • Log in with your FSA ID.
  • Navigate to the “Financial Information” section.
  • Indicate that you have “Already completed” your taxes.
  • If you are eligible, you will have the option to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If not, you may update your tax information manually.
Taxes already completed

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Has your situation changed?

Most FAFSA information cannot be updated because it must be accurate as of the day you originally signed your FAFSA. However, there are certain items that you must update. If there will be a significant change in your or your parent’s income for the present year or if your family has other circumstances that cannot be reported on the FAFSA, you should speak to the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend.

4. Review Your Financial Aid History

The last page of your SAR includes information about your financial aid history, specifically the student loans you have taken out. It’s important to keep track of how much you’re borrowing and to understand the terms and conditions of the loan.

TIP: You can always access your financial aid history by logging into My Federal Student Aid. Make sure you have your FSA ID ready.

5. Double-Check With Your Schools

Lastly, make sure that you double-check with the financial aid offices at the schools you applied to. Sometimes schools need additional paperwork or have other deadlines. You never want to leave money on the table!

Here’s a video on what happens after the FAFSA. You can find more videos on our YouTube channel.

Sandra Vuong is a Digital Engagement Strategist at Federal Student Aid.


  1. We just updated our financial information after my son’s school suspected we provided the wrong amount of child support. Will all the schools receive the updated information? Or will they have to be told to look for it by us?

  2. I was prescribed to put as much cash into a disaster protection plan to lessen my EFC. On the off chance that I apply in 2016 is it past the point of no return and would I be able to store it every year or if I finance it as a solitary sum

    • The FAFSA does not ask about disaster protection plans. FAFSA asks for total amount of asset net worth.

      Assets include:
      Money in cash, savings, and checking accounts
      Investment farms
      Other investments, such as real estate (other than the home in which you live), UGMA and UTMA accounts for which you are the owner, stocks, bonds, certificates of deposit, etc.

      Assets do not include:
      The home in which you live
      UGMA and UTMA accounts for which you are the custodian, but not the owner
      The value of life insurance
      Retirement plans (401[k] plans, pension funds, annuities, non-education IRAs, Keogh plans, etc.)

  3. I was recommended to put as much money into a life insurance plan to help reduce my EFC. If I apply in 2016 is it too late and can I fund it annually or should I fund it as a single amount?

  4. My son has fill in the Fafsa and receive the SAR, it says to get in contact with the school . He will start school in August how can he find out how much financial aids he will get .

    • Schools that have accepted your son will send him a letter, either in the mail or email. Your FAFSA information is shared with the colleges and/or career schools you list on the application. The financial aid office at a school uses your information to figure out how much federal student aid you may receive at that school. If the school has its own funds to use for financial aid, it might use your FAFSA information to determine your eligibility for that aid as well. (The school might also have other forms it wants you to fill out to get school aid, so check with the financial aid office to be sure.)

      Your information also goes to your state higher education agency, as well as to agencies of the states where your chosen schools are located. Many states have financial aid funds that they give out based on FAFSA information. More about what happens next.

  5. Yeah i realy like this point thats High school seniors and others could apply for financial aid in the fall around the same time as they fill out applications for colleges. Plus you’d have the 2015 tax return to use when filing the FAFSA for the 2017-18 academic year.

    Nazia Ali

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