You spent time prepping for the FAFSA and NOW you actually completed it! Yay! Now what? Within 3 to 5 business days, your Student Aid Report (SAR) is sent to the e-mail provided on the FAFSA or via postal mail (depending on how you submitted the FAFSA). If you haven’t completed your FAFSA, check out this handy guide for how to successfully submit your FAFSA the first time.
The Student Aid Report or 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).
Why your SAR is important
It is important to have an accurate SAR since your financial aid awards are based on the information listed on your report. Review it carefully with your family and compare the information listed to a copy of your FAFSA. The EFC listed on your student aid report will determine the amount of aid you will receive.
If you think any of the information on your report is incorrect, correct it by using the Information Review Form on the back of the SAR or by going to the official FAFSA website.
How and when you’ll receive your student aid report
You will receive your student aid report depending on how you submitted your FAFSA. If you provided an email address when you submitted your FAFSA, you can expect to receive your SAR within a few days of electronically filing.
If you filed a paper FAFSA, you should receive your SAR via postal mail in three to four weeks
How to read your student aid report
There are four key pieces of information on your SAR that you should pay attention to:
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
- Data Release Number
- Loan Summary
Below is an example of an electronic Student Aid Report. The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and Data Release Number (DRN) are located on the upper right-hand side.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
Your EFC is an index number that colleges use to determine what financial aid you are eligible to receive. Your EFC is calculated according to a formula established by law and the information from your FAFSA.
Verification is the process your school uses to confirm that the data reported on your FAFSA is accurate. If you are selected for verification, do not assume you are being accused of doing anything wrong – one out of three students is randomly selected for verification. If there is an asterisk next to your EFC, it means your student aid report requires further verification. Contact your financial aid office to confirm what documentation you need to submit to complete this process.
Data Release Number (DRN)
A Data Release Number (DRN) is a four-digit number given to your application by Federal Student Aid. You can provide your DRN to a customer service agent if you need certain changes made to your FAFSA information. Do not give your DRN to anyone other than a financial aid administrator or customer service agent.
The loan summary on your SAR is where any of your already existing federal student loans will be listed.
Remember, the student aid report is NOT the financial aid award letter, but the SAR is used to calculate the financial aid award letter. When you receive your SAR just remember the following steps:
- Review your SAR carefully
- Provide additional information if asked
- Follow the directions and correct any errors you find
- Keep a copy for your records
- Contact the financial aid office at each institution to which you have applied to ensure they have what they need to process your financial aid package
If you discover a mistake on your SAR, simply login into your FAFSA and click on “make FAFSA corrections.” Corrections can take up to 7 business days to process. For more information on the Student Aid Report, visit https://studentaid.ed.gov.