After the FAFSA: What to Do Once You’ve Submitted Yours
Once you've submitted your FAFSA, you may have questions or changes to the document. Here's what you should expect and how to make edits.
November 18, 2015
Congratulations! You’ve filled out your FAFSA and successfully submitted it.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean you should expect that a check to help you pay for school is going to arrive from the government. The process is a little more complicated than that and there may be more for you to do. Now, learn the next steps in the process of obtaining financial aid.
Checking to see if your FAFSA was processed
Once you’ve submitted your FAFSA online, you are immediately able to check its status. If you submit a paper FAFSA, you can check the status once it has been processed, which takes anywhere from seven to 10 days after the date you mailed the form.
Where does the FAFSA information I filled out go next?
Once you submit your FAFSA form, the information is given to the schools you listed on the application. From there, the financial aid offices at each school will use the information you provided to figure out how much federal student aid you qualify for at their school.
Plus, if the school you applied to has additional funding opportunities, they’ll use your FAFSA information to determine whether or not you’re eligible for that as well.
The information is also given to your state’s higher education agency, along with any other agencies in states to schools which you’ve applied. That’s because many states have financial aid funding they award based on your FAFSA information.
Will I hear from anyone?
You’ll receive a Student Aid Report (SAR), a summary of the FAFSA information you sent, anytime between 3 days and three weeks from the time you submitted your FAFSA. It’s important to look over your SAR in order to make sure you didn’t make any mistakes on your FAFSA.
Unfortunately, the SAR won’t tell you much about how much financial aid you’ll qualify for. But, you will get award letters from the schools you indicated on your FAFSA form. These award letters can be electronic or paper and the time you receive your award letters can vary. If you fill out the fall FAFSA (January 1), you can expect them sometime in the spring up to as late right before you start school, depending on when you submitted your information and how to school awards aid.
The verification process
If you see a note on your SAR that says you’ve been selected for verification, it simply means you’ve been selected to verify your form’s data is correct. It’s not a big deal – some schools may want to verify your information or you could have been selected at random. Some schools even verify all of the FAFSAs they receive from students.
If you are asked to verify, provide the documentation that the school asks for by their individual deadline indicted. Failure to do this will not allow you to qualify for financial aid, so ensure you submit it by the deadline!
Oops – I made a mistake on the form. Can I fix it?
Making corrections to your form is easiest online, but you must wait until your application has been processed. You can make corrections or updates to your FAFSA form on the Federal Student Aid website.
Some of my information changed since I filed the FAFSA. How can I update it?
You are able to update your FAFSA information if your situation changes. You are also able to update your contact information (your mailing address, email or phone number) in case that changes.
You MUST update the following changes in order to qualify for the right amount of financial aid:
Dependency status – this needs to be updated if you become pregnant or if your legal guardianship changes. If your marital status needs to be updated (and only yours – the student who filed the FAFSA), contact your school’s financial aid office to see if you’re able to update the information.
Household changes – IF you’re selected for verification (and only if) you must update your FAFSA to reflect any changes in your household – whether it’s yours or your parents. If your household changes as a result of marital status (and only yours – the student who filed the FAFSA), contact your school’s financial aid office to see if you’re able to update the information.
Changes to the number of people in college in your household – IF you’re selected for verification (and only if) you must update your FAFSA to reflect any changes in you’re the number of people within your household in college.
This includes your household and your parents’ household. If this change is a result of your (and only yours – the student who filed the FAFSA) marital status, contact your school’s financial aid office to see if you’re able to update the information.
Where can I make changes to my FAFSA?
You can make changes to your FAFSA form on the Federal Student Aid website, but you have other options, too. If you want to make changes online, login to your account on FAFSA.gov. From there, you can find a “Make FAFSA Corrections” option on the “My FAFSA” page.
You are also able to write in corrections/updates on your SAR, once you receive it. There’s an address provided on your SAR to mail the correct information.
Additionally, your school’s financial aid office may be able to make electronic updates to your form. Contact them directly if you have any questions about changing your form.
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