FINANCIAL AID: the BIG step that will get you SOME college money!

So now that you have filed your financial aid for college, receiving the Student Aid Report (SAR) in the mail is your next step. Are you wondering what it’s all about? Below is a compilation of research I found, mostly at the Department of Education Student Aid site.

I thought I’d provide you with a quick run-down of what this report means and provide an explanation of the main areas of it. 

Be sure to contact you FAFSA/Financial Aid Advisor of  the college you plan to attend, to let them know about receiving your SAR. They will direct you from there. But below are some quick tips. If you need more information, let me know and I can try to find it for you.

Looking for more ways to fund your education? 

Photo taken from: http://www.baristanet.com/2008/06/

Student Aid Report (SAR) and Why It’s Important

This is the actual report you will receive once all your paperwork has been processed. Usually takes several weeks, depending on when you send it in. Send it in now! The Student Aid Report (SAR) summarizes all the information you provided on your FAFSA. Your SAR will usually contain your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), the number used in determining your personal eligibility for federal student aid.

Your EFC will appear in the upper right-hand portion of a paper SAR or an electronic SAR. You might not get an EFC if they need more information from you to process your data. If you applied for a PIN during the FAFSA on the Web signature process, you’ll receive information about the status of your PIN.

After you apply for federal student aid you’ll receive your FAFSA results in your SAR: 

  • You will receive your SAR by e-mail 3-5 days after your FAFSA has been processed, if you provided an e-mail address when you applied. This e-mail will contain a secure link so you can access your SAR online. If you have a “junk” folder or “spam” folder in your e-mail files, check it. The e-mail from us might be delivered there instead of your inbox. We encourage you to add our e-mail address, http://FederalStudentAidFAFSA@cpsemail.ed.gov,, to your e-mail address book to help avoid delivery problems.
  • You will receive a paper SAR by mail in 7-10 days after your FAFSA has been processed, if you do not provide an e-mail address when you apply. Whether you apply online or by paper, they will automatically send your data electronically to the schools you listed on your FAFSA.

If you applied using a paper FAFSA, there are additional steps you need to take to ensure you’re considered for the ACG. If you’re a U.S. citizen, eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, and within the age range to have graduated from high school after Jan. 1, 2005, additional questions will be asked during the online application process.

The paper FAFSA does not contain these questions. Applicants who file the paper FAFSA, are U.S. citizens, eligible for a Federal Pell Grant and within the age range to have graduated from high school after Jan. 1, 2005 will receive information on their SAR explaining what to do. Please read the instructions carefully.

 
What do I do now that I have my SAR? 
Review it carefully to make sure it’s correct and complete. The school(s) you’ve selected to receive your SAR will use this information to determine if you’re eligible for federal—and possibly nonfederal—financial aid funds. This is an important step.
If you need to make corrections to your SAR:  
  • You can make them online using your PIN, by going to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/ and selecting “Make Corrections to a Processed FAFSA.”
  • Your school might be able to make them for you electronically (check with your school).
  • Or, if you received a paper SAR, make any necessary corrections on that SAR and mail it to the address on the form for processing.

You can make a few changes to your SAR by calling the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-433-3243. You must have the Data Release Number (DRN) located on your SAR.

Here’s what you can change over the phone: 

  • your mailing or e-mail address,
  • the names of schools that you want to receive your FAFSA information; and
  • your answer to Question 31 (concerning a drug conviction).
For all other changes, you must correct your SAR using one of the other options above.
Once everything is good to go with my SAR, how do I know how much I qualify for in FAFSA? 

If you’re eligible for federal student financial aid, the school(s) listed on your FAFSA (who have also offered you admission) will send you an Award Letter. The Award Letter tells you the type of financial aid you are eligible to receive and how much you may receive. This combination of aid is your Financial Aid Package. Review each Award Letter very carefully and compare how much aid you can receive at each school. Once you accept a school’s Award Letter, sign it and return it to the school for processing.

Check out the following sites with tips and great scholarship advice:

I CAN’T AFFORD TO GO TO COLLEGE, NOT TRUE!

STEPS TO TAKE WHEN APPLYING FOR SCHOLARSHIPS

JUST YOUR AVERAGE WILD AND CRAZY SCHOLARSHIPS!

I only answered the general questions I’ve received in the past. If there is anything else you need, or question, please visit www.ed.gov or send me a message! I love sharing!

My Success is Your Success,

Keith Lipke

Keith Lipke is a careers and college recruiter, coach, mentor and blogger at     The Career Closet. His passion is to educate, inspire, and give hope to young people who need it upon their search for the right career and college.

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