Once you have submitted your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) 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. Processing takes anywhere from 7 to 10 business days after the date you mailed the form.
Tip #1 Where the FAFSA Goes
When you have finished and submitted your FAFSA form, the information is given to the schools you listed on the application. From there, financial aid offices at each school will use the information you provided. They use it to figure out how much federal student aid you qualify for at that school.
The information is also given to your state’s higher education agency and any other agencies in the state of the schools which you have applied to. That is because many states have financially fronting awards based on your FAFSA information.
Plus, the school you applied to might have additional funding opportunities. The school will use your FAFSA information to determine whether you are eligible for that aid as well.
Tip #2 The Verification Process
You will receive a Student Aid Report or SAR as a summary of the FAFSA information you sent in. You will receive it between 3 days to 3 weeks from when you submitted your FAFSA.
- It’s important to look over your SAR to make sure you did not make any mistakes on your FAFSA.
- Making corrections on 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.
- If you see a note on your SAR that says you have been selected for verification, it simply means you have been selected to verify your forms data is correct. It’s not a big deal. Some schools may want to verify your information or could have selected you at random. Some schools even verify all the FAFSAs they receive from students. It all depends on the school.
- If you are asked to verify, please provide the documentation the school asks for. You must provide the documentation by their individual deadlines indicated. Failure to do so will not allow you to qualify for financial aid.
REMEMBER: Submit your corrections to the FAFSA by the deadline!
This is Mark Warner and the following are some additional items to also consider and be cognizant of as you submit your FAFSA:
Remember also to submit your FAFSA to more than 5 colleges or universities. As I understand it more than 70% of the FAFSA’s that are submitted are only sent to one school. The reason why this is a mistake is because the school that gets your information from FAFSA also sees what other schools that you have asked your information to be sent to. If you send it to only one school then they know that you are coming to their school. Now they know that they don’t have to compete with other schools for your business. Now the financial aid officer at that school can try to determine how little they can give you in financial aid knowing that you are committed to come to their school.
Benefits of submitting FAFSA to multiple schools!
Once you have submitted your information from the FAFSA to multiple schools you should begin to receive your award letters from the schools that you get accepted to. Once you get each of the award letters you can compare the awards from the various schools and attempt to leverage an award from a school that might be your second or third choice and work to get your first choice to award your student a larger amount of free aid. Positioning those awards is an art form and needs to be done carefully so that the financial aid officers will not get defensive and offer you less aid than they originally did.
Because college is so expensive these days you need to do all that you can to work the system to increase the financial aid as best you can. Good luck in writing a nice but persuasive letter that will give the financial aid award officers every incentive to give you more money and the right kind of aid.
Compliments of Firedream College Planning. To see video, go to http://firedream.com/helpful-tips/