5 Things to Do With That Student Aid Report (SAR)

Lately I’ve been talking a lot about parents filling out the FAFSA financial aid form even if they’re rich. (If you’ve got a kid who’ll be in college next year, you need to do this.)

But what’s the next step after that?

About 2–3 weeks after you fill out the FAFSA financial aid form for your college-bound high school senior or current college student, you’ll receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). One of the things this Student Aid Report will tell you is how much it is believed that your family can afford to pay for college. (Look for the line that says: “Estimated Family Contribution (EFC).”)

student aid report

If you find yourself laughing or crying at how high this number is, you’re not alone. Millions of families feel shocked and stunned at the high Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) listed on their child’s Student Aid Report.

My reassuring words to you? Don’t worry too much about this right now. If you’re following the step-by-step instructions in my book, you’re going to have many strategies you can use during the next year to bring these college costs way down.

(My book has 12 chapters for parents of kids heading off to college next fall.)

One mom reported in an Amazon review of this book that she only used 1/4 of the pages starting when her son was in 12th grade, and she still saved thousands on college costs. There’s hope for everyone!

For now, here are five things to know about your child’s Student Aid Report.

1. Check to be sure you’ve actually received it.

The Student Aid Report is a paper or electronic document you receive back after filling out the FAFSA form.

The student aid report usually arrives via email or postal mail within two weeks of the date that you filed the FAFSA. The Student Aid Report will give you some idea of your child’s eligibility for federal student aid, and it will list the answers you entered on your most recent FAFSA form.

2. If you haven’t yet received your child’s Student Aid Report, do this.

If two weeks have passed since you filed your FAFSA and you haven’t yet received a Student Aid Report, there may have been some problem with your FAFSA submission. Check your FAFSA status by going to Fafsa.ed.gov. Log in there with your FSA ID, and then go to the “My FAFSA” page. Select “View” or “Print Your Student Aid Report (SAR)” and you’ll have immediate access to it.

If your Student Aid Report is not there, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243). Ask them what could be the problem.

3. Carefully check your Student Aid Report for possible errors.

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