By Ryan Laspina
Analyst, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS
After you fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the U.S. Department of Education (ED) sends you a Student Aid Report (SAR) either by email or regular mail. If you choose the email option and use a valid email address on your FAFSA, you will receive your SAR in 3-5 days. A print version of the SAR takes 7-10 days. Also, any school that you add to your FAFSA receives a copy of your SAR within a day of the processing date.
Expected Family Contribution Determines Amount of Financial Aid You Receive
Your SAR contains a plethora of information for you to review. The most important thing on the SAR (other than making sure your information is accurate) is your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
Your EFC appears in the upper right corner of your SAR. The ED uses this number to determine how much of a contribution you and/or your family can make toward your educational expenses. Your EFC determines the amount of financial aid you’ll receive.
Check the Accuracy of Your Student Aid Report Information
When you get your SAR, the first thing you should do is make sure all of the information is correct. If it is, then wait until you receive your financial aid package(s) and decide which one to accept. Make sure you file your SAR in a safe place for possible future reference.
If you find an error on your SAR, immediately correct or update your FAFSA. Remember, schools or the ED may ask you to verify the information you provided on your FAFSA, so it is critical that all of your information is completely accurate.
SARs are fairly easy to read and understand. If you want more information regarding your SAR, a financial aid advisor can walk you through any questions you may have.