The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA for short, is the application that determines your eligibility, or the eligibility of your child, for federal aid for higher education. Types of aid include work-study and federal student loans and grants. You can file the FAFSA online or by mailing in a paper application. No matter how you apply, make sure your application has been accepted so that your chosen schools can put together financial aid packages to help you pay for college.
How to Check Your FAFSA Status
- Wait seven to 10 days after you mail in your FAFSA before checking the status online. Although you can check the status of an application submitted online immediately, until it is processed, the status will be “processing.” The FAFSA process typically takes three to five days for online submissions.
- Check the status of your FAFSA online by signing in to your Federal Student Aid account through the U.S. Department of Education website. You should have received your FSA ID before starting your FAFSA, but if you don’t have an ID yet, you can create one through the Department of Education website. You need to provide your email, name, date of birth, Social Security number, mailing address and phone number.
- As a student, you can see the status of your FAFSA on the web once you are logged in. As the parent checking on the status of a FAFSA application for your child, you must enter your child’s identifying information.
Possible FAFSA Statuses
Your FAFSA will have one of four statuses:
- Not Submitted: You have not submitted the FAFSA for processing.
- Processing: Your FAFSA is being reviewed. It takes a few days for each application to make its way through the system.
- Processed: Your FAFSA has been processed.
- On Hold: Your FAFSA application is missing a signature of either the student or a parent. Your account will tell you which signature is missing.
Reviewing Your Student Aid Report
After your FAFSA has been processed, you will receive a Student Aid Report that contains your FAFSA verification and indicates your Expected Family Contribution. Missing information means your application was incomplete and needs to be corrected. You should review the SAR to make sure all of the information is correct.
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Disbursement of Financial Aid
The disbursement of financial aid is separate from your FAFSA completion and acceptance. Contact the financial aid department at your school to check the status of the funds being disbursed.
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