What to Do After Filing Your FAFSA

By Suzanne Lazar, student, SUNY Empire State College; editor, The Student Connection

March 10, 2016

What to do After Filing Your FAFSAFAFSA is a Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which enables eligible students to receive financial assistance while enrolled at SUNY Empire State College. 

To be considered for most of the institutional grants and scholarships, the priority deadline for completion of the FAFSA is April 1, 2016.  For more information about the institutional grants and scholarship requirements, please visit http://alumni.esc.edu/giving/scholarships/

To apply for federal financial aid, including federal loans, you must complete a FAFSA. You can link to the FAFSA via the college’s website at www.esc.edu/financialaid.

Double-check with the Office of Financial Aid at ESC before applying!

After you’ve completed the 2016/2017 the FAFSA!  What do you do next? 

These are five important “to do” tips upon completion of your application from the U.S. Dept. of Education Official Blog:

1. Review Your Student Aid Report (SAR)

After you submit your FAFSA, you’ll get a Student Aid Report (SAR), a summary of the FAFSA data you submitted, within three days, if you signed your FAFSA online, or three weeks, if you mailed a signature page.

Any student with an FSA ID can view and print his or her SAR by logging into fafsa.gov and clicking the appropriate school year. This is also where you can check the status of your application, if you have not yet received your SAR. Once you get your SAR, review it carefully to ensure it’s correct and complete.

2. Review Your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

When reviewing your SAR, look for the Expected Family Contribution (EFC)  number in the box at the top of the first page, under your social security number.

Your EFC is a measure of your family’s financial strength and is calculated according to a formula established by law. This formula considers the following about you and your parents, if you’re a dependent:

  • taxed and untaxed income
  • assets
  • benefits (i.e., unemployment or social security)
  • family size
  • number of family members who will attend college during the year.

Schools use your EFC to determine your federal student aid eligibility and your financial aid award. However, your EFC is not the amount of money your family will have to pay for college, nor the amount of federal student aid you will receive, but a number used by your school to calculate how much financial aid you are eligible to receive. Contact your school’s financial aid office if you have any questions about how they calculate financial aid.

3. Make Corrections If You Need To

It’s important to make sure that everything on your FAFSA is correct and complete, as your school may ask you to verify some of the information. Most of the answers to questions on the FAFSA should describe your situation as of the day you sign the FAFSA. However, in some instances, you’ll want or be required to change the information you reported.

TIP: You must wait for your most recent FAFSA submission to process before you can update or make corrections. That usually take about three days.

Do you need to update any information?

  • Log in with your FSA ID.
  • Click “Make FAFSA Corrections.”
  • Corrections should be processed within 3–5 days and you should receive a revised SAR.
  • After you click “SUBMIT,” you cannot make another correction until your FAFSA has been processed successfully.

Did you submit your FAFSA using income and tax estimates?

  • Log in with your FSA ID.
  • Navigate to the “Financial Information” section.
  • Indicate that you have “Already completed” your taxes.
  • If you are eligible, you will have the option to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. If not, you may update your tax information manually.
    Has your situation changed?

Most FAFSA information cannot be updated, because it must be accurate as of the day you originally signed it. However, there are certain items that you must update, such as a significant change in your, or your parent’s, income for the present year. If your family has circumstances that cannot be reported on the FAFSA, speak to the financial aid office at the school you plan to attend.

4. Review Your Financial Aid History

The last page of your SAR includes information about your financial aid history, specifically the student loans you have taken out. It’s important to keep track of how much you’re borrowing and to understand the terms and conditions of the loan.

TIP: You can always access your financial aid history by logging into My Federal Student Aid. Make sure you have your FSA ID ready.

5. Double-Check With Your Schools

Lastly, make sure that you double-check with the financial aid offices at the schools you applied to. Sometimes, schools need additional paperwork or have other deadlines. You never want to leave money on the table!

Check out the video “After the FAFSA:  What Happens Next.”  You can find more videos on the Federal Student Aid YouTube channel.

Visit the U.S. Department of Education for more information about 5 Things To Do After Filing Your FAFSA.

For more information about financial assistance, email the Financial Aid office at FinancialAid@esc.edu, or call 800-847-3000.

Other News

Seeking Nominations and Applications for this Year’s Student Service Award, By Danielle Boardman, coordinator of student life, SUNY Empire State College

TUNE IN: President Merodie Hancock Interview Featured on WAMC Program, By David Henahan, director of communications, SUNY Empire State College

The Fund for Empire State College, By Jeff Walton, associate director for the fund, SUNY Empire State College

Did You Know

The deadline for submitting the 2016/2017 FAFSA application is April 1, 2016.

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Article Contributors

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David Henahan

Sue Lazar

Pam Moore

Eric Norcross

Jeff Walton

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