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Did you recently submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)? If so, you can expect to receive a Student Aid Report, or SAR. This document summarizes the information you included in the FAFSA and provides details about your eligibility for federal aid to attend college.
Keep reading to learn more about what a Student Aid Report is, when you’ll get one, and how to read it:
- What is a Student Aid Report?
- When you’ll receive the Student Aid Report
- How to read your Student Aid Report
- Consider filling funding gaps with private student loans
What is a Student Aid Report?
A Student Aid Report, or SAR, is a document that provides basic information about your eligibility for federal student aid, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans. You might receive your SAR in the mail or in electronic form by logging into your StudentAid.gov account.
The SAR is different from a financial award letter: It confirms the information sent to your schools and the types of financial aid you’re eligible for. You should also receive individual award letters from each school that’s accepted you for admission with specific financial aid offers from federal, state, private, and school sources.
Why is the Student Aid Report important?
Your SAR acknowledges that the U.S. Department of Education received your FAFSA and lists the information you provided on your FAFSA.
The colleges and universities you’ve applied to have access to the information on your SAR, and they use that information to make financial aid decisions. So it’s important to review the information on your SAR to ensure it’s accurate and make corrections if necessary.
When you’ll receive the Student Aid Report
When you receive your SAR depends on when you submit your FAFSA. But you can typically access your report online within two weeks of submitting your FAFSA.
You’ll receive your SAR via mail if:
- You didn’t provide a valid email address on your FAFSA.
- The Social Security number on your FAFSA didn’t match the one on file with the Social Security Administration.
- You didn’t sign your FAFSA.
How to find your Student Aid Report
If you provided a valid email address on your FAFSA, you should receive an email from the U.S. Department of Education with instructions for accessing a digital copy of your SAR. You can also access your SAR by:
- Visiting StudentAid.gov and selecting “Log In” on the home page
- Entering your FAFSA ID ( account username and password)
- Selecting “View SAR” from the “My FAFSA” page
How to read your Student Aid Report
In addition to the information on your FAFSA, your SAR includes several other important pieces of information:
- Expected Family Contribution (EFC): Your expected family contribution is a number calculated according to a formula established by federal law. If that number seems high, don’t worry — it’s not necessarily the amount you’ll have to come up with to pay for college. Instead, schools use the EFC to calculate your federal aid award. If your SAR doesn’t have an EFC, then your SAR won’t include one. Instead, the “What You Must Do Now” section will have instructions for resolving any issues with your application.
- Verification: Your SAR will indicate whether the U.S. Department of Education has flagged your application for verification. If you’ve been selected for verification, you may need to submit additional documentation to your college in order to qualify for federal aid. This additional documentation might include bank statements, tax returns, or W-2s.
- Data Release Number (DRN): Your SAR will include a four-digit DRN. You’ll need this number if you want to allow your school to change information on your FAFSA.
- Federal Pell Grant eligibility: Federal Pell Grants are awards available to undergraduate students and based solely on financial need. Your SAR will indicate whether you’re eligible for a Pell Grant, whether you’ve received Pell Grants in the past, and the amount of any prior awards.
- Loan summary: If you have any outstanding federal student loans, they’ll be listed in the loan Loan Summary section of your SAR.
Consider filling funding gaps with private student loans
Once you’ve exhausted all your scholarship and grant options and taken out all the federal student loans you’re eligible for, you may still find yourself in need of extra money to cover your educational expenses. This is where private student loans come in.
Private student loan rates can be quite competitive with the rates offered on some federal student loans, especially if you have excellent credit or a cosigner. Plus, unlike many federal student loans, you can borrow up to your program’s total cost of attendance.
When considering private student loans, be sure to shop around to compare interest rates and terms. These can vary greatly from lender to lender, so looking at more than one option can help you find the best one for your individual circumstances.
The companies in the table below are Credible’s approved partner lenders. Whether you’re the borrower or cosigner, Credible makes it easy to compare rates from multiple private student loan providers without affecting your credit score.
|Lender||Fixed Rates From (APR)||Variable Rates From (APR)|
|4.509 - 14.83%9||4.6209 - 14.96%9|
your credit score. 100% free!
Lowest APRs reflect autopay, loyalty, and interest-only repayment discounts where available | 10Ascent Disclosures | 1Citizens Disclosures | 2,3College Ave Disclosures | 7EDvestinU Disclosures | 8INvestEd Disclosures | 9Sallie Mae Disclosures