Checking the status of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is easy to do online: simply log into your account at fafsa.ed.gov. (If you applied using a paper application, then you’ll have to give it some time before your status updates online.)
While you can check your FAFSA status online by signing into your account, you don’t have to in order to ensure it went through. Rather, you can just wait to receive your student aid report (SAR).
Why Wait For Your SAR?
Ultimately, your school will provide you with a financial aid package, which is the information you really want. The biggest benefit to checking your FAFSA processing status is making sure everything went through. Receiving your SAR lets you know that’s the case.
If you do not receive your SAR report after 2 weeks or so (if you applied online), then it’s probably best to log in to your account online to check in on the status to see if something went wrong. For a better understanding of this timing, take a look at this schedule from Federal Student Aid.
The Steps After The SAR
Your SAR will provide a summary of your application, but it will not tell you how much financial aid you’ll receive. For that, you’ll have to wait for an award letter from your schools. (If you want to learn more about the SAR, check out my post on what’s in your FAFSA student aid report.)
Once your FAFSA is fully processed and received by the schools you listed on the application, you’ll receive a financial aid award letter from each school. Depending on when you submitted your FAFSA, this may take a while. Schools have a dedicated period of time when they calculate financial aid awards, so even if you completed the FAFSA early, you’ll still have to wait to receive your financial aid package (but that doesn’t mean you should wait to submit your application!).
Additionally, community college transfer students who completed the FAFSA for transfer schools in early January will not get a financial aid award letter until after submitting their transfer application and receiving an acceptance letter.
Want more information on applying for the FAFSA? Then, check out our video titled When And How To Apply For Financial Aid (FAFSA)!
(Photo: Federal Student Aid)