The spring is stressful time for high school seniors and their parents: college acceptance letters are already hitting mailboxes and college counselors are stressing the importance of FAFSA applications.
It sounds stressful just thinking about it — especially for those who have gone through the financial aid process in the past. But, if you’re going through it, it’s important to stay on top of financial aid and scholarship application deadlines in order to get the cash you need to pay for school. College counselors and other financial folk can help you fill out your actual application, but what happens afterward?
That’s where a lot of future college students get confused. How can you check the status of your FAFSA application once you’ve submitted?
Step 1: Wait 3-5 Business Days
You can technically start checking the status of your FAFSA immediately after you submit online, though it will only show a ‘submitted’ message until an actual human has reviewed your documents. It usually takes about 3-5 business days for a professional to review your application (7-10 if you mailed your FAFSA.)
Once your application is reviewed, you’ll receive an email at the email address you listed on your FAFSA saying that your application is ready for view.
Step 2: Log-In to Your Official FAFSA account
When your application is ready, head over to your official ‘FAFSA on the Web’ login page. You’ll have to enter your first name, last name, social security number and date of birth to get access to your account. Make sure you put the same information you included on your FAFSA , otherwise you won’t get access.
You can also call the official Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID to check your FAFSA status and possibly speak to a live representative.
Step 3: Review Your Student Aid Report (SAR)
Once you’ve logged in to your account, you’ll see your Student Aid Report. Check this information closely — it contains all of the information you submitted in your FAFSA, along with your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
If you need to make changes to your SAR, you can either do it yourself by logging in to the FAFSA website and clicking on ‘Make Corrections to a Processed FAFSA.’ You can also contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center as well.
Step 4: Wait for Your Award Letter From Your Chosen School
Your Student Aid Report is also sent to the schools you put on your FAFSA application. From there, it’s your school’s responsibility to determine and award you financial aid. All schools differ on when they send out their financial aid award letters, so it’s best to work with your school on when you can expect to receive that information.