This article was updated on February 21, 2020. It was originally published on February 18, 2016.
The Student Aid Report (SAR) is a confusing government-type report that summarizes the information that you provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Here are the important things to look at when you receive your report.
Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
Your SAR will usually contain your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)—the number used in determining your eligibility for federal student aid. This number is NOT the amount you will have to pay for college nor is it the amount of federal student aid you will receive. Your EFC will appear in the upper right-hand portion of a paper SAR and at (or near) the top of an electronic SAR.
If there is an asterisk positioned next to the EFC figure on the SAR, then the data you submitted has been selected for verification (audit). If you do not have an EFC number on your SAR, then more information may be needed from you to process your data.
Data Release Number (DRN)
You will find your DRN at the upper-right hand corner of the SAR below your EFC. The DRN is a four-digit number that serves as an identifier for your SAR. You will need it if you have to adjust your FAFSA information (e.g. changing contact info or adding another school code).
Do I Need to Do Anything with My SAR?
According to the official FAFSA website: “Once you receive the SAR, review it carefully to make sure it’s accurate and complete. The school(s) you’ve selected to receive your SAR will use this information to determine if you’re eligible for federal – and possibly nonfederal – student financial aid funds.”
If you need to make corrections to your SAR, you can make them online using your FSA number. Go to http://www.fafsa.ed.gov, login, and select “Make Corrections to a Processed FAFSA.”
If you received a paper SAR, make any necessary corrections on that SAR and mail it to:
Federal Student Aid Programs
PO Box 4038
Washington, DC 52243-4038
Most importantly, if you have been selected for verification, send in the requested documentation and send it in as soon as possible! Why? Some aid is first-come-first-served and verifying your info quickly is crucial because many colleges have FAFSA deadlines BEFORE the deadline set by the federal government. Remember, you will not receive financial aid if you do not verify your information when asked.
When Will I Receive My SAR?
If you provided an e-mail address when you applied for aid, you will receive your SAR by e-mail 3-5 days after your FAFSA has been processed. This e-mail will contain a secure link so you can access your SAR online using your FSA number.
If you did not provide an e-mail address when you applied for aid, then you will receive a paper SAR by mail in 7-10 days after your FAFSA has been processed. Regardless of whether you applied online, or by paper, your financial data will automatically be sent electronically to the schools you listed on the FAFSA.
Below is a comprehensive chart from studentaid.gov which explains when you will get your SAR based on how you submitted your FAFSA.
*The time frames in this table indicate how long it takes for the SAR to arrive after the FAFSA form is submitted.
If you do not receive your SAR, call the federal processor at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243). Once your SAR is accurate and complete and you are eligible for federal student financial aid, each school will send you an award