After the FAFSA®: Important Next Steps
If you have submitted a FAFSA this winter, congratulations! You've completed an important first step in the financial aid process. But there's more to come. In the next few weeks and months, you'll receive various communication regarding your FAFSA, which could include requests for additional information from college financial aid offices. Read through our summary below to make sure you're informed about the next steps within the process.
- After submitting your FAFSA, the Department of Education will review your application, a process that takes 3-5 days, and then send your family a Student Aid Report (SAR), which includes a summary of your FAFSA data and your calculated Expected Family Contribution (EFC). If you included an email address on your FAFSA, you'll receive the SAR via email. FAFSAs without an email address will be mailed the SAR.
- Financial aid offices will review your FAFSA information and may request additional financial documentation through a federally-mandated process called Verification. Your family may be required to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, which electronically updates your FAFSA with your 2014 tax return data, or submit an official tax return transcript, which can be requested on IRS.gov. Keep an eye out for communication from college financial aid offices.
- Once colleges review your FAFSA, and any other documentation or applications submitted, they'll calculate your eligibility for financial aid using your EFC. The financial aid office will do its best to offer you as much financial aid as possible, based on your calculated eligibility and available funds from the college, federal government, and state government.
- You should expect to receive your financial aid offers from your accepted colleges via mail or email, either with your admissions decision or shortly thereafter. With those offers in hand, your family will need to evaluate your options, and decide by May 1st─the universal enrollment deadline─where the student will attend college next fall.
As you navigate through this process, we're here with key information and expert guidance. We'll be hosting Paying the College Bill seminars throughout March and April, which will provide important information on financial aid offers, how to calculate what you'll owe for college, and options to pay your bill. Keep your eye on our Webinars page for further details on dates and locations. Do you have questions about the next steps within the financial aid process? Reach out to us on Twitter at @MEFAtweets or our Facebook page and we'll get right back to you.