What to Do After Filing Your FAFSA

Find out how to make changes and verify your information on your FAFSA.

By Ashley Henshaw | April 16, 2014

If you submitted your FAFSA online, you can check on the status almost immediately.
Photo: Thinkstock

You’ve gathered all the necessary paperwork, filled out the forms and submitted your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Not sure what to do next? We’ve got you covered with this list of things to expect once your FAFSA has been filed, including how to check the status of your application, make changes, and what to do when you receive your Student Aid Report (SAR).

Check Your FAFSA Status

If you submitted your FAFSA online, you can check on the status almost immediately. If you submitted a paper FAFSA, then you’ll need to wait about 7 to 10 days from the date it was mailed to get your application status since it takes a little longer to be processed.

The most important thing to do after submitting your FAFSA and receiving your SAR is to ensure that all your information is complete and up-to-date.

There are two ways to check your FAFSA status:

If your application is still being processed, wait a few days, and then check again to see an updated status.

Make Corrections to Your Application

Whether you made a mistake or your situation has changed since you submitted the application, you should make the necessary corrections to your FAFSA. If you mailed a paper application, you’ll need to contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center for help. Those who submitted their FAFSA online will simply be able to log into their account to make changes as needed. Here’s how:

  • 1. Go to fafsa.ed.gov and log in using your name, Social Security Number and date of birth.
  • 2. Click “Make FAFSA Corrections.”
  • 3. Enter the Federal Student Aid PIN that you created when submitting your application online.
  • 4. Change your information as necessary.
  • 5. Be sure to click “Submit” before logging out.

Keep in mind that not all information can be updated. While you definitely need to submit corrections for your contact information or dependency status, certain financial changes cannot be submitted. If you can’t submit a correction that you believe affects your financial need (change in a parent’s income, special family circumstances, etc.), contact the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend to discuss your situation.

Unfortunately, not all information can be updated.

Choose Which Schools Will Receive Your Information

If you submitted a paper FAFSA, you were allowed to select four schools to receive your financial information. For online applications, that number is increased to ten. If you change your mind about which schools you’d like to list on your application, you can do so after submitting your FAFSA.

Access your application online as described above to make this change. Keep in mind, however, that each new school code entered overrides a previous entry. You can select which school codes to remove in order to list new codes.

Receive Your SAR

Your Student Aid Report (SAR) will arrive in as little as three days or as long as a few weeks, depending on how you submitted your application, with SARs being received faster for those who filed the FAFSA online.

Your SAR will tell you if there’s anything you need to do to resolve any issues. It will also contain a four-digit Data Release Number (DRN) which can be used if you want your school to change any information on your FAFSA. Look over the full report carefully to make sure it’s correct and complete. If you need to make a correction, write it in, sign it and mail it to the address provided on the SAR.

You won’t find out exactly how much aid you’ll be offered yet. The schools you listed on your FAFSA will use the information on your SAR to determine your eligibility for aid.

Verify Your Information

There’s a chance that your SAR may contain a special note that says you’ve been selected for verification. This process allows the school to confirm the data you reported on your FAFSA by requesting documentation that supports the information you reported.

Being selected for verification doesn’t mean you’ve done something wrong. Each school uses a different process for selecting students for verification. Some select students randomly, while others require all students to verify their information.

Here’s what to do if you’ve been selected for verification:

The most important thing to do after submitting your FAFSA and receiving your SAR is to ensure that all your information is complete and up-to-date. If you’re anxious to know what amount of aid you’ll be offered, you can get an estimate by entering your information in the FAFSA4caster.

People Who Read This Article Also Read:

5 Helpful FAFSA Tips
How to Complete Your FAFSA
How to Complete Your FAFSA on Time
A Step-by-Step Guide to Filling Out the FAFSA

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