Receiving Financial Aid Requires More Than Completing the FAFSA
Multiple steps are required when applying for Federal Student Aid. Once you have completed your FAFSA, you are not finished. Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the first step to qualify for federal, state, and school financial aid assistance. This financial aid assistance includes loans, grants, and scholarships. Simply filling out the FAFSA and adding a school, which you intend on attending, does not guarantee you to receive financial aid. Completion of additional steps thorough your school are required in order to determine the financial aid assistance you are eligible to receive.
Here is a list of additional steps that may need to be completed in order to determine your eligibility and disbursal of financial aid funds:
- After you complete the FAFSA, you will then receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) via mail or e-mail. The SAR provides you with some basic information about your eligibility and some of the information you included on your FAFSA. This also allows you to review the information you input to see if any corrections are needed.
- The FAFSA information will be forwarded to your school, upon successful completion, to determine how much financial aid you may be eligible to receive at that university.
- Some financial aid applications will be selected for a federally required verification process. Verification is the process your school uses to confirm that the data reported on your FAFSA is accurate. The school can contact you for documentation that supports the information you reported on your FAFSA. The request will come to you via e-mail, U.S. Mail, or other official college communication systems. It is required to complete any requested documentation in order to receive your financial aid.
- Some colleges may require additional forms and/or applications for financial aid; it will be your responsibility to complete and submit these documents.
- After you complete the required steps to receive financial aid at your university, the financial aid office will verify and confirm the financial aid packaging and you will be able to view your award letter. This will list the types and amount of aid, which you are eligible to receive at that university. This also provides you with the opportunity to decide how much of the aid you would like to accept.
- Your funds are disbursed through your school and not the Department of Education. If you accept a student loan(s) there are additional steps to complete to ensure your funds will disburse. This includes completing entrance counseling and signing the Master Promissory Note (MPN). These are both completed through the StudentLoans.gov website and provide you with detailed information regarding the terms, conditions, rights, and responsibilities of being a student loan borrower.
Students are encouraged to contact their schools financial aid office to determine exact financial aid policies, procedures, and deadlines. Financial aid administrators can tell you when award notices will be distributed, and if any additional forms or applications for aid are required. They can also explain how and when your aid will be paid out. Be sure to keep in touch with your school’s financial aid office so that you understand the whole process of receiving your aid. If you have any questions regarding the financial aid process at American Public University Systems, you may contact our Financial Aid department at 1-877-468-6268 ext. 3630 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . You may also visit the American Public University website for a list of detailed steps on how to complete our financial aid process. To learn more about what to expect after you complete the FAFSA please visit the Department of Education Federal Student Aid website.
By Shalena Gonzales
Financial Aid Specialist, American Public University