So you’ve started or completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and now you’re wondering what the heck happened to it.
Well, checking your FAFSA status is easier than you think. Here’s how you can get started.
How to check your FAFSA status online
The status of your paper FAFSA application won’t be available until seven to 10 days after you drop it in the mail. You can check the status of electronic FAFSA submissions in three to five days.
If you include your email address on your FAFSA submission, you’ll receive an email with a link to your Student Aid Report (SAR). You’ll be notified via regular mail if you don’t include your email address.
If you haven’t received a FAFSA confirmation, the status of your application can be found at FAFSA.ed.gov.
You can log in using your Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID, which includes your username and password, or other personal information, such as your Social Security number and date of birth. The Department of Education recommends that students log in using their FSA ID to avoid misstating their personal information. It also says parents should log in using the student’s personal information.
After logging in, you should find your FAFSA status in bold text on the website’s “My FAFSA” page. Your status could be anything from “Not Submitted” to “Processing” and beyond. If your status shows as “Processing,” the Federal Student Aid Office recommends that you wait a few days to check it again.
If you haven’t completed your FAFSA but have it saved online, your status will be “Not Submitted.” Be aware that your saved FAFSA application will expire after 45 days. At that point, you’d need to start over.
Working on your application a little bit at a time is fine, but make sure you submit it before the FAFSA deadlines.
If you’re still unable to review your FAFSA status, you can contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center for help. It offers email, chat, and phone support. Check out this video from the Federal Student Aid Office for a quick look at the entire FAFSA approval process.
How to check your FAFSA status via your school
When you submit your FAFSA, you should land on a confirmation page that spells out your estimated financial aid award. If you want an estimate before submitting your application, you could use the FAFSA4caster, a free tool that predicts your aid in advance.
If you’re wondering about your actual financial aid award after submission, ask your campus financial aid office.
The colleges listed on your FAFSA will receive your SAR as soon as one day after it’s processed by the Federal Student Aid Office. But it could take them weeks to download your SAR and use it to determine how much financial aid you can receive toward your cost of attendance.
Colleges typically send out a financial aid award letter not long after your acceptance letter has arrived. But you’re not guaranteed to receive an award letter from every college you listed on your FAFSA. If you have questions about the aid you might receive from a particular college, reach out directly to its financial aid office.
You might get a notification from a school that you’ve been selected for a “verification” process. That doesn’t mean you did anything wrong on your aid application. In fact, some schools verify the FAFSA of every accepted student.
During the verification process, you might be asked to provide family financial information, such as a recent tax return. Fulfill these requests as quickly as you can to give yourself the best possible shot at need-based aid awarded on a rolling basis.
Stay on top of your FAFSA status
It takes less than an hour for most students and their families to complete the FAFSA. But it can take just a split second to make a mistake or forget to follow up on your FAFSA status.
Stay on top of your application for federal aid. It could mean a world of difference if you’re planning to rely on grants, scholarships, work-study opportunities, and loans that require having a FAFSA on file.
You’d be wise to get out in front of any problems too. As you’re waiting on the “Processed” FAFSA status, reread your original application. If you notice any mistakes, input information to make fixes as quickly as possible. You can do this by clicking on “Make FAFSA Corrections” once you land on the “My FAFSA” page.
Now that you know how to check your FAFSA status, address your other burning questions about federal student aid with our FAFSA FAQs.
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