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FAFSA Follow-up

If you’ve submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), congratulations! You’ve just taken a very important step on your way to college. Now, what should you expect?

  1. You’ll receive a Student Aid Report (SAR).

Within a few days of submitting the FAFSA you’ll get an email containing a link to your online Student Aid Report (SAR) information. This will be sent to the email address you provided on your FAFSA. Watch for an email from FederalStudentAidFAFSA@cpsemail.ed.gov. Consider adding this address to your favorites, or to a safe sender list, so the message doesn’t go to Spam. If you didn’t supply an email address, you’ll get your SAR through snail mail several days later.

Review your SAR carefully to verify that everything is correct. If you see any errors that need to be corrected, log in at FAFSA.gov using your FSA ID and correct the information. If you’re unable to change the data in any particular field, be sure to call the FAFSA hotline, 1.800.4FED AID (1.800.433.3243) and explain the situation. Once you hit ‘Submit’ again, any corrections you make will show up on a revised SAR that you’ll receive within a few days.

  1. You may be selected for verification.

If your FAFSA has been selected for a random review process, called verification, you’ll receive details on how to proceed so your college’s financial aid office can verify your information before you receive federal financial aid. The summary on the first page of your SAR will list any additional steps you need to take.

  1. You’ll want to follow up with financial aid.

Your SAR will not tell you exactly how much aid your college can award you from every possible source. Visit with the financial aid department at the college you’re interested in attending. They can walk you through your financial aid package, collect any missing information, and let you know what to expect going forward.

Visit the Department of Education to learn more about what to expect after you submit the FAFSA.

Updated FAFSA Tools Available!

We’ve been busy updating our FAFSA tools to help make the financial aid process as simple as possible for you and your family. Check out our updated tools in the resources section. Updates include:

Finish the FAFSA in 5 Steps breaks the FAFSA process into five simple steps and includes information about the materials needed to complete the form, tools available through online submission and more. It also provides information about additional financial aid resources.

FAFSA Facts offers students and parents must-know facts about the FAFSA including useful terms, when to apply and how to get the most assistance throughout the process.

Dependency Questionnaire lists the questions used to determine your dependency status on the FAFSA. If you answer “Yes” to any one of these questions, you’ll be considered an independent student and will not need to include your parents’ information on the FAFSA.

FAFSA Parent Flyer provides parents with helpful information about FAFSA completion.

Are You Looking for Money? provides helpful information about ways to pay for college including scholarships, grants, work-study and low-cost federal loans.

Fun FAFSA Facts

You may not think submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is fun, but it’s a necessary tool to help you apply for federal and state financial aid for college. Whether you’ve already completed your FAFSA, or you’re getting ready to start, here are some interesting statistics about this form.

On average, it takes 24.13 minutes to complete the FAFSA from start to finish.

One way to achieve this goal is to have your materials ready before you start the application. Learn what you’ll need for the application in our informational video, Finish the FAFSA in Five Steps.

99% of students nationwide complete the FAFSA online.

While the paper application is an option, families are highly encouraged to complete the FAFSA online to expedite the process and avoid many common errors.

79% of students only list one college on the FAFSA.

Students are allowed to provide up to 10 schools on their FAFSA. The schools listed on your FAFSA will receive your financial results. Adding a school to the FAFSA doesn’t mean you’re committing to attend or even apply to that school, so feel free to add up to 10 schools you may be interested in attending. You may find out you qualify for financial aid through a school program.

StartWithFAFSA.org is your “go to” resource for FAFSA info.

As the financial aid process continues to improve, we’re dedicated to providing you with timely information as it applies to you. We know that the process can be confusing and we’re here to help you make sense of it all. If you find you have questions not answered here, please free to contact us!

FAFSA Online

While you have the option to download a PDF or request a paper version of the 2016-17 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), submitting it online at FAFSA.gov is the recommended method for many reasons.

Benefit #1: Accuracy
The FAFSA online includes guides and alerts that help ensure you’ve entered information correctly. If you make a mistake on a paper application, it won’t be caught until your application is reviewed several weeks later.

Benefit #2: Simplification
The online FAFSA includes a skip-logic feature that, depending on your answers as you complete the form, will automatically skip questions that aren’t relevant to your situation–which simplifies the process and makes completion that much quicker.

Benefit #3: Speed 
By completing online, you also have the option to transfer your required tax information directly from the IRS, reducing the chance of entering an incorrect amount in a data field. And best of all, you’re information is saved, making next year’s application process faster.

Benefit #4: Safety 
If the security of your information is a concern, rest assured that the online application is very well protected and domestic Web browsers are highly encrypted.

So what are you waiting for? Apply for financial aid online today at FAFSA.gov.

What’s a SAR and When Will I Get One?

The Student Aid Report (SAR) is a paper or electronic document that gives you some basic information about your eligibility for federal student aid and lists your answers to the questions on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

After you complete your FAFSA, you should receive your SAR from Federal Student Aid. This document will be sent to the email address you supplied on your FAFSA, usually within a few days after you submit the FAFSA. If you haven’t seen it in your inbox by then, be sure to check your spam or junk mail folders. The schools you list on your FAFSA will receive your SAR data electronically and begin the process of outlining your award package, which will include the types and amounts of financial aid you’re eligible to receive.

The SAR contains all data reported on your FAFSA. Read your SAR carefully to make sure all of your information is correct. Most errors can be fixed through your FAFSA online at FAFSA.gov. If there is an error in a field you can’t access, call the Federal Student Aid hotline at 1.800.4 FED AID (1.800.433.3243), or send your question to FederalStudentAidCustomerService@ed.gov.

Your SAR will also tell you if your FAFSA has been selected for verification. If it has, you’ll be given instructions about what to do next. Supplying the information required for verification is mandatory. You can’t receive federal financial aid until the verification process is complete.

Reading your SAR lets you know what’s going on with your financial aid application before you visit a financial aid office. It can help you prepare for your visit by having any necessary documents with you when you arrive. This will save time and reduce the number of visits you’ll have to make to the financial aid office. That’s a win-win situation for everyone!

Are You Looking for Money?

Well, who isn’t? Let’s rephrase to be more specific. Are you looking for money for college? If so, you should check out UCanGo2.org where you’ll find dozens of resources to help you plan, prepare and pay for college. Here are some of the highlights:

UCango2 Find Scholarships Buttong

Find hundreds of scholarships organized by deadline or category, and don’t forget to check back weekly for UCanGo2’s Scholarship of the Week!

 
Are You Looking for MoneyAre You Looking for Money is UCanGo2’s signature financial aid guide with specific information about Oklahoma’s programs. It offers information about grants, scholarships, work study programs, and student loans.

 

Finish the FAFSA in Five StepsFinish the FAFSA in 5 Steps is a step-by-step guide designed to help students and their parents submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in just five simple steps.

 

College Planning ChecklistsWhether you’re in sixth grade or 12th grade, UCanGo2 is here to help you determine your next steps for preparing for college. From what classes to take to when to apply for financial aid, the high school and middle school checklists offer useful information for every student.

 

Bonus! A complete list of our FAFSA tools for students and parents, including FAFSA Facts and the Dependency Questionnaire, can be found in the resources section here at StartWithFAFSA.org/resources.

 

Who is My Parent on the FAFSA?

Financial aid eligibility can vary depending on whether you’re considered a dependent or independent student. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) requires dependent students to show their parent’s information on the form. Independent students are not required to include it. What if your parents are divorced or separated? What if you live with your grandmother? Whose information should be included?

The Department of Education provides these guidelines to explain who should be counted as a parent. Unless otherwise noted, “parent” means the legal (biological and/or adoptive) parent or stepparent. The rules below apply to legal parents regardless of gender.

    • If your parents are living and legally married to each other, answer the questions about both of them.
    • If your parents are living together and are not married, answer the questions about both of them.
    • If your parent is widowed or was never married, answer the questions about that parent.
    • If your parents are divorced or separated and don’t live together, answer the questions about the parent with whom you lived more during the past 12 months. If you lived the same amount of time with each parent, give answers about the parent who provided more financial support during the past 12 months or during the most recent year that you actually received support from a parent.
    • If your parents are divorced but live together, you’ll indicate their marital status as “Unmarried and both parents living together,” and you’ll answer the questions about both of them.
    • If your parents are separated but live together, you’ll indicate their marital status as “Married or remarried,” and you’ll answer the questions about both of them.
    • If you have a stepparent who is married to the legal parent whose information you’re reporting, you must provide information about that stepparent as well.
    • The following people are not your parents unless they have adopted you: grandparents, foster parents, legal guardians, older brothers or sisters, and uncles or aunts.

If you’re still unsure, contact the Federal Student Aid Center at 1.800.4.FED.AID, 1.800-433-3243.

What’s up with the FSA ID?

The Federal Student Aid Identification (FSA ID) is used to log in to certain FSA websites, such as FAFSA.gov. It’s comprised of a username and password, and it has replaced the old PIN system. If you used a PIN to sign your last FAFSA, you’ll be given directions on how to set up an FSA ID the next time you log in at FAFSA.gov.

Setting up an FSA ID is easy, and it’s strongly recommended that you set it up before you start the FAFSA. Simply visit fsaid.ed.gov, click ‘Create an FSA ID,’ and fill in the requested information.

Here are a few things you need to know:

  • If you are a dependent student (see our FAFSA Dependency Questionnaire in the resources section), one of your parents will also need to set up their own FSA ID. Parents will use the same website and follow the same steps.
  • Your email address cannot be the same as your parent’s email address on the FAFSA. Make sure you have two separate email addresses before you set up your FSA IDs.
  • Because many high schools have firewalls to prevent students from receiving external mail, it’s best not to use an email address that’s been assigned to you by your school.
  • If you have any questions about the FSA ID, click ‘Help’ in the top right corner at fsaid.ed.gov. You’ll find a wealth of information there.

Don’t forget to submit your FAFSA as soon as possible for priority consideration for some types of financial aid!

Concerned About the FAFSA? We Can Help!

If you need help paying for college next year, you should submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is required if you want to explore your eligibility for federal and state aid, and is also required for some grant and scholarship programs (including Oklahoma’s Promise). By completing the FAFSA, you’re not committing to any aid—you’re simply submitting a ‘snapshot’ of your family’s financial situation so you can learn about your options.

There are many helpful resources to check into, especially if you’re submitting the FAFSA for the first time.

UCanGo2.org provides great tips on how to cover the cost of college and provides information about various types of financial aid, including grants, scholarships, state aid, work-study and student loans.

StudentAid.ed.gov provides tons of information about when, how and why to submit the FAFSA.

Check out the categories and archives listed at the left here at StartWithFAFSA.org. Many common questions have been addressed in blogs that we’ve posted in the past. While you’re here, also be sure to check out our ‘FAFSA in Five’ videos! You’ll find one in English and one in Spanish.

For more Spanish resources, visit StudentAid.ed.gov/sa/resources and scroll down the page to see a list of all the publications and videos available in Spanish