Each year, October 1 marks the beginning of when you and your student can start filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Completing the FAFSA is the first step to securing financial aid for college, and you should fill it out as soon as possible after October 1. Many institutions use information from the FAFSA, so this one form can help your student access more than just federal student aid. If you and your student haven’t already done so, fill out the FAFSA as soon as possible.
Once you have completed the FAFSA, what comes next?
Your student should receive a copy of the Student Aid Report (SAR) within a couple weeks. This is a summary of the information you and your student provided in the FAFSA. Review it together to make sure it’s accurate and complete, as it will be sent to the colleges your student listed in the FAFSA.
Colleges will use the information in your SAR to determine how much aid your student is eligible to receive and to create their financial aid award package.
How do I make a correction to my FAFSA?
You can make corrections to your FAFSA online, even after submitting. Log in, then click “Make FAFSA Corrections.” You can add or remove colleges from your application, change your email or mailing address, and correct any other field in your FAFSA except your Social Security number.
How do I check the status of my FAFSA?
If you submitted your FAFSA online, then your application will be processed within 3–5 days. You can check the status of your FAFSA any time after submitting it online. Once logged in, your FAFSA status displays on the “My FAFSA” page.
If you submitted a paper FAFSA, your application will be processed within 7–10 days, at which time you can check your status.
When can I expect to receive information about my financial aid?
The colleges you list on your application will have access to your FAFSA information about one day after your application is processed. They use this information to determine aid eligibility, but each college has its own time frame for assessing and awarding funds.
After you submit your college application to the school, the college will create a financial aid award letter for you, based on your FAFSA application. Most colleges send award letters around the same time as admission letters. But timing can vary: Contact the school’s financial aid office to learn when you should expect to receive your award letter.
It’s important to know colleges don’t necessarily create an award package for every student who lists them on their FAFSA. Again, be sure to contact the college you plan to attend to learn about the process of applying for financial aid.
Find answers to more common FAFSA questions on the Federal Student Aid website.