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Aid Step 3: Process Forms

Two forms will follow your submission of the FAFSA form.
First is the Student Aid Report (SAR). Next is the Financial Aid Award. Step 3 explains each form and next steps.
(you can learn more - links scroll to information below)
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Financial Aid Step 3:

Process Student Aid Report (SAR)

The Student Aid Report (SAR) estimates the Expected Family Contribution

After submission and completion of the FAFSA form, the federal government will process your application and produce a Student Aid Report (SAR).

The SAR will report the information from the FAFSA form and calculate your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC will appear near the top section of the report.


The SAR will be sent to you and the schools you reported on your FAFSA form.

If you submit the FAFSA form via the Internet, and processed all the required documents, you will receive the SAR in about one week after your FAFSA application is processed;

If you submit the FAFSA form via direct mail, you will receive the SAR in about 3-4 weeks after your FAFSA form is received.


After you receive the SAR, you must review it and make any necessary corrections:

read it carefully to make sure everything is correct. You can make corrections by one of the following ways:

  • make changes online using your PIN: click here for FAFSA
  • on Part 2 of the SAR and return it to the address given at the end of Part 2;
  • or request that your school make the changes electronically (contact your school).


Adding more schools to the SAR

If you want to have the SAR sent to a school that wasn't originally reported on the FAFSA form, you may do one of the following:

  • photocopy your SAR and mail it to the school of choice
  • correct and add the new school to your SAR and return it to the US Department of Education
  • contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center at
    (or dial directly 1-319-337-5665) and request duplicate copies to be sent to you
  • request duplicate copies to be sent to you from the FAFSA form web site (under "Request Duplicate Student Aid Report")
  • add more schools by submitting a correction to your FAFSA information

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Financial Aid Step 3:

Review Financial Award Letter

The Financial Award Letter is processed by the college or university that you will be attending

The school's financial aid office will process the SAR and determine the total financial aid you can receive through federal, state, and college-based programs.

The school will then send you the Financial Award Letter (Package) usually upon acceptance of your college admission — usually around April to May.


The Financial Award Letter (Package) will list the type of financial aid that may include:

  • grants and scholarships:
    includes private and government grants and all scholarships.

  • student loans:
    Perkins, subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans, PLUS loans, state loan programs, other.

  • work-study programs:
    different work programs through the school or in the community.

    link to our financial aid charts for a summary review

    sample of an award letter:


Some award letters do not cover the full cost of attendance

The sample award letter above shows an award package that matches the financial need for the academic years. Some colleges may offer award amounts that are less than the total financial need.

You will have to determine what additional money you can find on your own in order to attend your college of choice.


You should review the financial award letter

Understand its terms including loan interest rates, required work hours, aid renewal and other requirements.

Look at each award item to understand exactly what requirements are necessary to earn that award. Note that some institute grants are given to first-year students to encourage them to enroll. Make sure these grants are not reduced or removed after the first year.

Ask about the work-study program: hours required, pay, type work, etc. Some students may opt to work the summer months instead of taking work -study programs.

You'll also want to ask about the continued availability of the state grant.


The school will require you to either Accept (A) or reject (R) the financial aid package.

Have all of your questions asked before accepting the financial aid package — if you feel the package is inadequate, contact your school's financial aid office.

Review the financial aid packages among the various schools you plan to attend — compare which school offers the best financial aid package as it relates to your overall educational requirements.

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