As your child enters high school, you may be wondering about their transition from middle…
Now that you have submitted the FAFSA, what’s next? Even though the federal deadline to submit the ‘23/24 FAFSA is 6/30/2024, you will want to submit the FAFSA as early as possible, especially for first-time freshmen. The Department of Education released the FAFSA on October 1st and many families have already completed it or are on the cusp of getting it completed and submitted. Submitting the FAFSA is just step one in the process. Here are 5 steps to take after you submit the FAFSA.
1. Review Your FAFSA Confirmation Page
After you complete the FAFSA form online and select “SUBMIT,” you will receive a confirmation page. This is not your financial aid offer. You’ll get that separately from the school(s) you apply to and get accepted into.
The confirmation page provides federal aid estimates based on the information you provided on your FAFSA form. It’s important to know that these figures are truly estimates and assume the information you provided on the FAFSA form is correct.
2. Review Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
The information you report on your FAFSA form is used to calculate your EFC. It’s very important to note that the EFC is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college. Instead, the EFC is an index number used by financial aid offices to calculate your financial need.
Lastly, after your FAFSA form has been processed (which takes about three days), you can go back and submit any corrections to certain fields. This includes correcting a typo or adding another school to receive your FAFSA information. Log in with your FSA ID at fafsa.gov, and then select “Make FAFSA Corrections.” You can add up to 10 schools at a time.
3. Review Your SAR (Student Aid Report)
The SAR report will be sent to the student’s email a few days after the FAFSA has been submitted. Review this for any errors. Does your EFC seem correct? If you make changes to your FAFSA by signing into fafsa.gov, you will receive a revised SAR once the corrections have been processed. Make sure that you review the new SAR for any errors.
4. Review Your Financial Aid Award Letters
You will be receiving financial aid award letters as early as January and throughout May of senior year. You will want to know how to review and compare these. If there is need-based aid, what is the percent of need that the school meets? If there is merit-based aid, find out if it’s renewable. Find out the requirements to maintain scholarship eligibility. Compare the scholarship offered to what the school publishes on their website and compare it to the award letters that other students have received. Each school has a different schedule for awarding and paying financial aid. Contact the college’s financial aid office for details about when the final financial aid award letter will be sent.
5. Get Ready for the Appeals Process
Appeal season can be as early as January and it extends all the way through June for seniors, for the upcoming academic year. You can appeal based on need, merit, or competition. If you are appealing because of a special circumstance (loss or change of employment, loss or decrease of income, marital situation changes, excessive out of pocket medical, other financial hardships), have your supporting documentation ready to do an appeal. These types of appeals are based on professional judgment.