Mapping Your Future: FAFSA completion ‐ A big step followed by some smaller steps


FAFSA completion ‐ A big step followed by some smaller steps

By Catherine Mueller

March 01, 2023

Completing the FAFSA is a big accomplishment.

However, students should know there’s more to be done when it comes to getting ready for college and taking advantage of all opportunities for financial aid.

Once you’ve submitted your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the U.S. Department of Education will process the FAFSA in a few days. An online application takes about 3 days, and a paper application takes about 7-10 days to process.

Here are the next steps after your application is processed:

  1. Receive your Student Aid Report (SAR). You will receive an email notifying you that your SAR is ready to review. The SAR summarizes the information you provided on your FAFSA.
  2. Review your SAR and make sure all the information is complete and accurate. Make any corrections or additions.
  3. Contact the financial aid office at the college you plan to attend to find out if there are additional requirements for receiving financial aid and to learn more about the process of applying for aid at that college.
  4. Complete the admissions application for the schools or colleges you are considering attending.
  5. Receive and review financial aid offers from the schools or colleges you listed on the FAFSA. Each institution will use the information on your SAR to determine your eligibility for federal and nonfederal student aid and prepare a financial aid offer.
  6. Decide which aid you want to accept and confirm that online in the school or college portal or return the financial aid offer letter.

While there are a few steps you need to take after the submitting the FAFSA, completing is the first big step and puts you on a path to find funding for your education.