With the financial aid season in full swing you may have filed your FAFSA iStock_000059908786_Smallalready. You may be wondering what to do now or wondering if you made a mistake on your FAFSA. If you’ve heard the term Student Aid Report or SAR and have been wondering what that means, then these college planning tips are for you.

Tip #1 What is the Student Aid Report (SAR) and what information does it contain?

  • A Student Aid Report is a paper or electronic document that gives you some basic information about your eligibility for federal student aid, and answers to the questions on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA. If you provided a valid email address on your FAFSA, you’ll receive an email with instructions on how to access an online copy of your SAR. If you did not provide a valid email address on your FAFSA or there’s a problem with the contact information you provided, you will receive either a SAR or SAR acknowledgement via post mail.
  • Typically, you will be able to access your SAR within two weeks of filing the FAFSA, sometimes sooner.
  • If your application is complete, an Expected Family Contribution or EFC will be displayed in the right hand corner of your SAR. If your application is incomplete, your SAR will not have your EFC but it will tell you what you need to do to resolve the issue.
  • The SAR also contains a 4 digit Data Release Number or DRN. It appears on the first page in the upper right hand corner of your paper SAR and SAR acknowledgement. On an electronic SAR, the DRN is located in a box that contains the application receipt date below the EFC. You’ll need a reference number if you want to make your SAR available to schools you do not originally include on your FAFSA.

Tip #2 What to do with the Student Aid Report (SAR).

  • When you get your SAR, review it to make sure it is correct and complete. The schools you listed on your FAFSA use your information to determine your eligibility for federal and even possibly not federal financial aid. The school may ask you to verify the accuracy of the data you provided on the FAFSA, so you need to make sure the information is correct.
  • If you don’t have any changes to make to the information listed on the SAR, just keep it for your records.
  • If you review your SAR and find a mistake, you always have the ability to correct or even update your FAFSA.

One extra bonus tip: The federal processor will send your Student Aid Report (SAR) from this email, cpsnotify@cpsedmail.ed.gov.

  • Consider entering this email address to your address book or email white list. Keep an eye on your bulk or junk email folders after you submit your FAFSA in case the email with your SAR gets routed there.
  • You can always call the Department of Education help desk at 1-800-4-Fed-Aid (1-800-433-3243.


Compliments of Firedream College Planning. To see video, go to http://firedream.com/helpful-tips/

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