you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), be on the
lookout for your Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR is an electronic or paper
document that summarizes the data you put on your FAFSA. It also provides some
basic information about your eligibility for federal student financial aid. If
you completed, signed and submitted your FAFSA electronically, this document
will be sent to your email address within 3-5 days. If you did not include an
email address, a paper version of the SAR will be mailed to your postal address
in approximately 2-3 weeks. You can also access your SAR by logging in to your
account at FAFSA.gov.
SAR contains important information, like your Expected Family Contribution
(EFC) and your Data Release Number (DRN). The EFC is a measure of your family’s
financial strength and is calculated according to a formula established by law.
It’s based on the information provided on the FAFSA, but the EFC is NOT the amount
of money your family will have to pay for college. It’s a number used by your
school to calculate the amount of federal student aid you’re
eligible to receive.
DRN is located below your EFC on the SAR and is necessary if you want your
college or career school to change certain types of information on your FAFSA.
Speak with someone at your college financial aid office if there has been a
significant change in income for you or your parents or you have a special
circumstance you need to discuss with the aid administrator.
SAR might indicate that you’ve been selected for verification. This is a
process schools use to confirm the information on your FAFSA is correct. Your
college financial aid office will notify you if additional paperwork is needed
to fulfill this requirement.
the remainder of your SAR for any errors. If you find anything that should be
corrected, log back in to FAFSA.gov, access your
FAFSA, and make the necessary changes. Then enter the appropriate FSA IDs and
submit your FAFSA again.
The Free Application for
Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is a form you submit to determine your
eligibility to receive financial aid. This form asks various questions on information
you probably haven’t thought about before. Since these questions may be uncommon
to you and your family, it’s easy to make a mistake when completing the application.
If you need to make corrections to the FAFSA after you’ve submitted it, there
are a few ways you can fix the errors.
- Log back in – If you need to correct some information on your FAFSA, such as change your high school’s name or add more colleges to the application, you can simply log back into the FAFSA form. To do this, you’ll need your FSA ID. When you log in, you’ll see a box that shows information about your application status, along with your next steps in the FAFSA process. Under this box is a section that says, “You can also”. In that section, find the link to “Make FAFSA Corrections”. Click on the link to access your application. After you’ve made the necessary changes, submit the application again with the correct information. Don’t forget to sign the FAFSA again with your FSA ID!
- Update your SAR – When you first submit your FAFSA, it generates a Student Aid Report or SAR. This report shows all the information you entered on your application. If you need to change your name or Social Security number, you can make those adjustments by printing out your SAR and correcting the errors. Unfortunately, the application doesn’t allow you to update this information on the electronic version. You can find and print your SAR in the “You can also” section of FAFSA.gov, after you’ve logged in with your FSA ID. Once you’ve printed out the report and made your changes, mail the corrected SAR to the address stated on the form. Additionally, if you need to change your name due to marriage, divorce, etc., you must first make those changes with the Social Security Administration (SSA). When SSA has corrected your information, you can then update your FSA ID, as well as the FAFSA form, with the right data.
- Speak with financial aid – For small changes such as updating your email or mailing address, you can use the previous two methods. However, if you need to correct financial information on the FAFSA, especially if you used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you may have to submit corrections through the financial aid office at your anticipated school. Students who manually entered their financial information on the FAFSA can log back into FAFSA.gov and make changes. Those who used the IRS Data Retrieval tool to complete the income portion must speak with their financial aid office to fix any errors. Talk to the office about the errors that were made and learn how you can correct the mistakes. The financial aid office may want extra documentation, so be sure to give them all the required information. You can make changes to your name or Social Security number through the financial aid office as well.
Submitting the FAFSA with
the right information is important. If you need to make changes, don’t wait.
Adjust your answers as soon as you learn a mistake was made. Using any of these
methods will help you successfully make changes. For more information on how to
submit FAFSA corrections, go to studentaid.ed.gov.
Family Contribution (EFC) is a number that’s used to help determine your
eligibility for financial aid for college. Each school that you selected to
share your information with on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid
(FAFSA) will use the EFC to determine how much aid you may receive at their
individual institution. Your EFC is calculated through a formula that uses your
family’s taxed and untaxed income, assets and benefits. The size of your family,
the number of family members who will attend college during the academic year
and the age of your older parent will also influence your EFC.
Financial aid administrators will
subtract the EFC from the student’s cost of attendance to determine their need for
the following federal student aid programs:
- Federal Pell Grants
- Federal Subsidized Student Loans
- Federal Supplemental Educational
- Federal Work-Study
Other federal and state scholarship
programs will also use the EFC to determine your eligibility for additional
aid. For a detailed guide on exactly how an EFC is calculated, you can check
out The EFC Formula.
It’s important to know that your EFC
is not the guaranteed amount of money you or your family will be required to
contribute to your cost of attendance. It’s only a number used by your school
to calculated your financial aid eligibility.
The EFC is a very influential
calculation, so it’s important to complete your FAFSA sooner than later. You
can find the FAFSA online at FAFSA.gov.