6 things to do after you submit the FAFSA

After filling out the FAFSA, be proactive. Here are 6 things to do after you submit the FAFSA to ensure that you get the financial aid you need.

1. Confirm that your FAFSA has been processed

It typically takes 3-5 days to process the online FAFSA. The paper FAFSA takes 7-10 days from the date it was mailed to process.

You’ll know that your FAFSA has been processed with your get your Student Aid Report (SAR). If you provided an email address, signed your FAFSA, and there were no issues matching your social security number, you’ll receive an email with the link to your SAR. Otherwise, you’ll receive your SAR in the mail.

2. Make corrections, as needed

If you made a mistake while filling out your FASFA, you can make changes by logging into your account. Go the the “My FAFSA” page and click “Make FAFSA corrections”.  Also, check with the financial office of the colleges you’re applying to and inform them of the changes you need to make. They may be able to provide you with further assistances.

3. Report significant changes to your colleges

A lot of the information in your FAFSA can’t be updated after you have submitted it. However, you should talk to the financial aid office of the college you plan to attend if there’s a significant change in your circumstances, for example, if there’s a big change in your parents’ income.

4. Check the status of your FAFSA

Monitor the status of your FAFSA by logging into your account. You can check your status on the “My FAFSA” page.

5. Complete the CSS PROFILE

Many private colleges use the CSS PROFILE in addition to the FAFSA to determine financial aid. To find out whether your college of interest uses the CSS PROFILE, check the college’s financial aid deadlines for prospective students. For example, the website of the financial aid office at Colorado College outlines the deadline for all financial aid forms and documentation, including the CSS PROFILE.

6. Look out for financial aid award letters

Colleges generally send out financial aid award letters around the same time that they send admission offer letters. The timing might vary depending on when you submitted your FAFSA and the number of FAFSAs the college needs to process. Don’t hesitate to directly contact a college’s financial aid office if you have any questions about your award letter.


(Photo: UC Davis College of Engineering)

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