Your Student Aid Report and You | 04.02.10

Posted in FAFSA, Financial Aid, Stafford Loan, Student Loans By Evan Jacobs

Within two to six weeks after you have completed your FAFSA, the Department of Education sends you a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR).

The SAR will give you an idea of how much the federal government and colleges expect you to pay. Look for the EFC (expected family contribution) number. If it says 09000, for example, that means your probable share of annual tuition and fees will be $9,000. Here is what to do when the SAR arrives:

Make updates/corrections. If you need to fix any errors or amend the information you supplied on the FAFSA; now is the time to do it. This is particularly useful if you have recently completed your tax returns since you filled out the FAFSA, and some of your information has changed.

When you got to submit the corrections, you should also contact the schools to which you have applied. The colleges you selected will receive this report as well. As registration deadlines grow nearer, some colleges and universities might prefer you send a copy of the SAR directly to their financial aid office, with all corrections included.

Inform the schools of any new hardships. Remember that your FAFSA was based on last year’s income, so if you have experienced any particular hardships such as a job loss or costly medical injury, call the schools and state your case.

Don’t be afraid to negotiate. If you’re an exceptional student and think you can get a better aid package, don’t be afraid to do a little haggling over your aid from a certain school. Colleges may increase their aid offering to a student with an especially strong academic background. Explain your case to the school’s admissions office, and be prepared to show copies of better offers from other schools.

Seek out additional funds, if necessary. If your EFC is higher than expected, and you’re not sure you can pay, consider alternative methods, such as private student loans. Be sure to do some digging for scholarships as well.

If you sent in your FAFSA but haven’t received your SAR within two to six weeks, contact the U.S. Department of Education help desk at: 1-800-4-FED-AID. If you have any additional questions about your SAR, leave them in the comments or peruse our forums and our financial aid experts will assist you.


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12 Responses to “Your Student Aid Report and You”

  1. Steve Clarke says on June 5, 2010 at 12:25 am:

    I am in my second semester, second year of FAFSA . No problems first semester, now, my university, which has confirmed my approval and amount, is 6 weeks after start of class and says they cannot disperse balance to me as they have not received the funds from the government. Is this common or normal? I was told by one advisor that balance of funds are sent 14 days after class starts to confirm attendance, which makes sense. Any place I can look deeper into this? FAFSA live support could not help me. Thanks, Steve

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  2. Yolanda says on May 6, 2010 at 12:25 pm:

    Thanks, Melina, you’ve given us a helpful tip.

    Reply To This Comment
  3. mom says on May 6, 2010 at 3:42 pm:

    Great info!

    Reply To This Comment
  4. sharmaine says on May 5, 2010 at 2:55 am:

    This article was very helpful I don't feel so overwhelmed anymore.

    Reply To This Comment
  5. viki says on May 4, 2010 at 9:14 pm:

    It has a valuable information it helped with FAFSA and it wasnt as complicated as everyone said .

    Reply To This Comment
  6. Yolanda says on May 4, 2010 at 1:24 pm:

    With my husband’s retirement, our income from 2009 went beyond $45,000 even though I had been unemployed since July 2009. I am still receiving unemployment benefits. Will I get receive CalGrant to reduce my expenses for Fall 2010?

    Reply To This Comment
  7. hmw7 says on April 26, 2010 at 2:02 am:

    Thanks for this. this has truly help me.

    Reply To This Comment
  8. Jessica says on April 24, 2010 at 11:38 pm:

    I didn't know you could haggle FASFA for more money, I wonder if this really works?

    Reply To This Comment
  9. Heather K says on April 13, 2010 at 5:57 pm:

    This article helped me to understand what options are available to obtain more money for college.

    Reply To This Comment
  10. Liz says on April 12, 2010 at 2:07 pm:

    It is disappointing to learn that you aren't getting as much help as you would like, but that's whay this website is for!

    Reply To This Comment
  11. Melina says on April 9, 2010 at 1:22 am:

    Tuition isn't a used car, you can't haggle on the price.

    But you can demonstrate why the EFC does not represent your family's financial condition to the financial aid office and then request additional funds. Show them that your current earnings are less then your 2009 earnings. Show them extensive medical bills for your family. Show them tuition bills for secondary schools that are required and not optional. They will show you the process for a special conditions appeal — every school has to have a process to do this, by law.

    But don't just say hey, I want to pay less than everyone else, that's just bad manners.

    Reply To This Comment
  12. Jenny says on April 8, 2010 at 12:24 am:

    i finished my fafsa stuff this year it was my first time
    i would have to say it wasn't as complicated as i thought.

    Reply To This Comment

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