It's that time again. College acceptances are starting to arrive, and students already enrolled in college need to prepare for next year's finances. It's also time to complete online the federal government's Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Checking on your FAFSA status after submitting the online form is easier than you'd think.
Because the need for student aid has increased recently, it's no time to procrastinate. Colleges urge students to apply early to facilitate the procedure and FAFSA also has expedited processing of the forms. Although FAFSA filing only started on Jan. 1, students can now check their FAFSA status within three to five days after submitting the form.
While filing the FAFSA is a must for needy students, those in the middle- and even upper-income range should also file in order take advantage of financial aid that might be available to them at their schools. These other funds are generally given on a first-come, first-served basis.
While there's still the option of printing FAFSA forms and returning them by mail, 98% of students utilize online filing, which results in much quicker processing.
Using the same information entered into the FAFSA form (name, social security number, date of birth, etc.) you can log into your FAFSA online account to check your FAFSA status. In processing your FAFSA, the government will generate a report that dictates your EFC (expected family contribution) and sends your schools your SAR (student aid report).
Money College contacted FAFSA's online customer service to find out how long it takes to process FAFSA online, and was told it's three to five days. Once processed, the applicant will receive an email letting them know that they can now check the status of their application.
The same information is made available to schools one business day after processing. The schools then take the financial aid procedure from there.