Understanding Your Student Aid Report (SAR)

A Student Aid Report (SAR) is a document you will receive after your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is processed. Your SAR will summarize all the information you provided on your FAFSA. You should review the answers carefully to ensure the accuracy of your application. If you need to make any changes, you can do so on the SAR and mail it back to the address provided, or you can make the corrections on the web.

The SAR will also contain your EFC (Expected Family Contribution), which measures your family's financial strength, and is used to determine your eligibility for federal student aid during one academic year. Your school will use this number to decide how much financial aid you are eligible to receive based on the school's cost of attendance. If your EFC is missing from your SAR, the Dept. of Education might need more information from you to process your data.

If you do not provide electronic signatures or signature pages with the FAFSA, you must sign the SAR and mail it back to the address provided for final processing.

Your Data Release Number (DRN) will also be on the SAR and if you applied for a FAFSA PIN during the FAFSA on the Web signature process, you'll receive information about the status of your PIN. You'll need your DRN if you call into the Dept. of Education for any questions or changes regarding your application.

Reviewing your Student Aid Report (SAR)

This is your opportunity to check over your report and correct any mistakes. Compare the information listed to your practice FAFSA On the Web Worksheet.

If your report has been selected for verification, page one of the SAR will have a message that states, "You will be asked by your school(s) to provide copies of certain financial documents." This means that you will be expected to provide supporting documentation for the information on your FAFSA, most likely copies of your current tax forms (1040, W2, etc). Instructions on the SAR explain how to do this.

How to Make Corrections

If you believe your information is incorrect, you can fix any mistakes by writing the correct answers on the Information Review Form that is on the back of the SAR. When the Information Review Form is complete, you should contact your financial aid office to see if the school can send the corrections electronically, or whether you should mail the form to the address designated on the SAR.

Your Federal Aid Award

If you're eligible for federal student financial aid, the school(s) listed on your FAFSA (who have also offered you admission) will send you an award letter shortly. The award letter tells you the type of financial aid you are eligible to receive from federal, state, and institutional sources and how much you may receive. After you've reviewed your SAR, start looking for your Award Letters to start arriving.

Next Step: Learn about your financial aid award letters