Once you’ve completed your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you’ll need to keep an eye out for your Student Aid Report. Your Student Aid Report is a form that details the results of your FAFSA, including your expected family contribution and initial estimates for some types of financial aid.

What is the Student Aid Report?

The Student Aid Report (SAR) is a basic outline of how much money you could receive in federal student aid. It has a summary of all the answers you submitted on your FAFSA and is usually sent to you via email a few days after you complete the form. You can also find it by logging into your FAFSA account.

Why is the Student Aid Report important?

The SAR is important because it gives you an at-a-glance view of how much financial aid you might be able to receive in the form of Pell Grants and federal student loans. While it’s not the final figure — it won’t include any potential financial aid from your college or your state — having a general dollar amount gives you an idea of how much your family is expected to financially contribute to your education.

The SAR is also an important document because it’s the one that’s sent to any schools you’re applying to. Schools will use this document to determine your final financial aid package, including scholarships and grants.

You can also use your SAR to correct select errors you made when completing your FAFSA. Correcting errors can change how much financial aid you receive both at the federal level and from your school.

Elements of the Student Aid Report

The SAR has a few different components, including:

  • Expected family contribution (EFC). If you’ve completed the FAFSA, your expected family contribution, or EFC, will appear in the upper right-hand corner of the SAR. It won’t show up for incomplete applications. This number is an index that helps estimate a family’s ability to pay for college costs.
  • Data Release Number (DRN). The DRN is the number you’ll share with financial aid offices or the Federal Student Aid Information Center if you need make changes to your mailing address or send schools your SAR information.
  • “What You Must Do Now.” If you have an incomplete application, the SAR will detail what you need to submit to have a completed application. It may also include instructions on what to do if you’ve made an error in your FAFSA.
  • FAFSA Data. In the FAFSA Data section, you’ll see summaries of your answers to questions asked on the FAFSA.
  • School Information. On your FAFSA, you have the ability to list up to 10 schools to receive your SAR. You’ll see these schools listed on your SAR, with information about graduation rates, retention rates and transfer rates.
  • Financial Aid History. You’ll see a summary of your outstanding federal student loans, any reported aid you shared in your FAFSA and your estimated eligibility for Pell Grants and federal student loans for the upcoming year.
  • Verification. Some applications are selected for verification purposes. If your application was selected for this process, you’ll see an asterisk next to your EFC. Verification is a step used by your potential school to verify the information you submitted on your FAFSA. Not everyone is selected for verification, but there’s a chance you might be.

When do you receive your Student Aid Report?

Electronic filers who complete the FAFSA online and provide an email address could receive a SAR within three to five days of completing the FAFSA. Those who submitted online but did not provide an email address should expect a turnaround closer to seven to 10 days.

Filers who submit the FAFSA by mail will have a longer wait time. Those who provide an email address should receive a result within two weeks, and those who don’t should receive a result within three weeks.

How to find your Student Aid Report

There are a few ways to find your SAR:

  • Email. Once you complete your FAFSA, you’ll get instructions emailed to you on how to access your SAR online.
  • Federal Student Aid Website. You can log into your Federal Student Aid account anytime to access your SAR. First go to the “My FAFSA” page, then select “View SAR.” This should bring up your completed Student Aid Report.
  • Mail. If you didn’t give an email address on your FAFSA, you can request a copy of your SAR from the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 800-433-3243. This could take a few weeks to get processed and delivered.