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- The Student Aid Report summarizes information regarding your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Beginning with the 2024-2025 school year, the Student Aid Report will become the FAFSA Submission Summary.
- You should check your FAFSA Submission Summary to see if there are any errors that may affect your aid.
Considering that the average cost of college ranges from $26,000 to nearly $56,000 depending on the school, it’s no surprise that more than 43 million Americans have to take out student loans.
If you’re one of them or think you’ll need federal student loans for the upcoming school year, the Student Aid Report, or SAR, will play a role. Here’s what you need to know about this document.
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What is a Student Aid Report (SAR)?
The Student Aid Report is a document used to summarize the data submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) during the 2023-2024 school year. It also included the student’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
As part of the FAFSA Simplification Act, the SAR will be replaced by the FAFSA Submission Summary starting in the 2024-2025 school year.
The SAR and FAFSA Submission Summaries are intended for student use only, but will help you detect errors you may have entered on your FAFSA, which may affect the aid colleges offer you.
“It also alerts the applicant to whether their application has been selected for verification or if there are any issues with any government data matches (citizenship, Social Security Number, etc.) that require follow-up with university financial aid offices,” says Shannon Vasconcelos, senior director of university finance Bright Horizons College Coach.
What’s in the Student Aid Report?
Student Aid Reports included personal details such as your name, address, contact information, educational history, financial information and colleges you were considering.
The new FAFSA Submission Summaries will include similar information. You can expect to see the following:
This field will tell you where your FAFSA is located and whether it has been selected for verification. This means some data on your FAFSA submission needs to be checked for accuracy.
“It’s not a big deal,” says Robert Kersey, executive director of financial aid and veterans affairs. college of charleston. “Some schools may want to verify the student’s information, or the student may have been selected at random.”
If you are asked to verify information, you will also be asked for specific documentation to support this verification. Pay attention to the payment due date. “Being late could cost you financial aid dollars,” Kersey says.
Eligibility for federal student aid
Your summary will also include the Student Aid Index, formerly called Expected Family Contribution. This is a measure of how much your household can contribute to your college costs and how much help you’ll need for the upcoming school year.
This section will also detail whether you are eligible for any federal Pell Grants and, if so, how much you may receive. If you qualify for these grants, approach these numbers with caution.
“Numbers may change based on review by the financial aid office,” Vasconcelos says. “A financial aid offer may also include additional institutional aid from the university not specified in the FAFSA Application Summary.”
The comments section provides a checklist of problems found in your FAFSA submission. There are also instructions for fixing these problems. (Typically, you will do these directly through FAFSA.gov.) In some cases, you may need to contact your school’s financial aid office.
When you fill out your FAFSA form, you will be able to indicate any special circumstances you may have. These may include being on active military duty, living in foster care, being legally emancipated, being homeless, and other strenuous situations that can affect the amount of help you need. If you put any of these on your form, you’ll see a breakdown of how your school’s financial aid administrator took them into account.
Federal student loan summary
Your FAFSA Submission Summary will also include a section outlining your history with federal financial aid. You’ll see Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL), direct loans, federal Perkins loans, grants, and the total balances and pending payments for each.
This is the final section of your FAFSA Application Summary and contains details of all the information you have previously submitted in your application. This includes your identity and contact information, career plans, personal circumstances, family size, demographic information, high school information, tax information and details of your spouse or parent’s personal and financial information; as their income and assets may affect your Student Aid Index. and personal contribution to university expenses.
It will also have a breakdown of the colleges you chose to apply to, including location, graduation rate, transfer rate, loan default rate, average costs, and average student debt after graduation.
How to read and interpret your SAR
Reading your FAFSA Application Summary, formerly called the Student Aid Report, is critical as it can help you spot errors that could affect your eligibility for financial aid (or how much you may receive). Here’s how to access and read your FAFSA Submission Summary.
How to access your SAR?
Once the Department of Education receives, processes, and transmits your application, it will email you your FAFSA Application Summary and mail a hard copy. This usually happens within three days to two weeks after application.
“This is an indication that the student’s FAFSA has been processed and the information has been forwarded to the colleges listed on the student’s FAFSA,” explains Vasconcelos.
Access your FAFSA Submission Summary at any time. FAFSA.gov bill.
Be sure to quickly review your FAFSA Submission Summary. Since it shows that your FAFSA has already been sent to the colleges of your choice, you’ll want to correct any errors quickly before schools begin finalizing financial aid packages.
You can find your Student Aid Index, formerly called Expected Family Contribution, at the top of your FAFSA Submission Summary and in the “Federal Student Aid Eligibility” section.
The information here does not indicate that you have actually received any of the benefit amounts mentioned; It just indicates that you may be eligible for these benefits. Your university will use the index to determine how much aid to offer you.
“Your Student Aid Index and Pell Grant eligibility are interesting numbers to consider, but students should understand that the FAFSA Application Summary is not an offer of financial aid,” says Vasconcelos. “The university financial aid office will review your FAFSA data, verify the required data, resolve any conflicting information, and send you a formal financial aid offer upon acceptance.”
Review of financial information
The most important thing you can do with your FAFSA Submission Summary is to verify the accuracy of the data you submitted on your FAFSA. Any errors may affect your eligibility for aid or how much aid you can receive.
According to the Department of Federal Student Aid, some common mistakes include mixing parent information with student information, incorrect tax numbers, and omitting financial details.
“Make sure you haven’t made any mistakes or typos,” says Vasconcelos. “Adding or subtracting an extra zero can make a big difference in financial aid eligibility.”
If you find errors, you can make changes directly to the printed document and send them by mail. (There are instructions for this on page 2). You can also change most of your answers online by logging into your FAFSA account, correcting the error, and resubmitting. Note that the application has already been sent to your schools; so you may want to contact them directly to make sure the changes are reflected in your schools.
Schools and help offers
The schools you apply to do not actually receive your FAFSA Application Summary (formerly known as the Student Aid Report). Instead they use ISIR — Institution Student Information Record.
“They use ISIR, which is the institution’s Student Information Registry,” says Elaine Rubin, communications director for the college planning firm Editors. “This is the information provided on the FAFSA, but it can also provide more information about data not visible to the student, past borrowing and grant information. ISIR may also have flags for specific codes that must be resolved by the appropriate school before granting aid. Flags , FAFSA Verification types may be for conflicting information or approaching credit limits.”
Schools also receive your Federal Tax Information from the Internal Revenue Service. They will use this and the information from your FAFSA to determine what financial aid to offer you. The formula — at least to determine how much money you need to allocate to school — is the cost of attendance minus the Student Aid Index minus any other financial aid you receive.
Extenuating circumstances may increase the amount of financial aid you are eligible for. If you have new special conditions that are not reflected in your FAFSA Submission Summary, you can log back into your FAFSA to add them. You should also contact your school’s financial aid administration and request a review of your situation, as this may result in additional aid.
Once you receive your FAFSA Submission Summary, review it carefully, preferably with any nearby parents or guardians, to make sure all information is accurate and up-to-date. If you find any problems or missing information, update your application at: FAFSA.gov and contact the financial aid offices of the schools to which you applied. Moreover StudentAid.gov Account to track your financial aid application and manage your loans.
And if you need help, contact an expert. This could mean a financial planner, student loan counselor, or a representative from your school’s financial aid office.
Student Aid Report FAQ
Yes. Once you receive your SAR, now called the FAFSA Application Summary, you can still edit your FAFSA application, including the schools that received it. Simply select “Add/Change School” from the “My FAFSA” menu.
If your EFC, now called the Student Aid Index, is high, you may receive less aid. If you think your Student Aid Index is incorrect, double-check the financial information you provided on your FAFSA and correct any problems you find. You can also appeal your financial aid package with your school.
The SAR, now called the FAFSA Application Summary, contains information that colleges see when determining how much financial aid you qualify for. It also affects the federal grants and loans you may receive.
You can expect to receive your SAR, now called the FAFSA Submission Summary, via email and mail within three days to two weeks after you submit your FAFSA.