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What To Do When You Receive A Student Aid Report

As soon as possible after receiving your SAR, you should review it to make sure your financial information is correct.

After you submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to apply for federal aid as well as other types of financial aid money for college, you will receive your Student Aid Report (SAR). If you provided an e-mail address, the SAR will be sent to you via e-mail a few days after your FAFSA has been processed. If you did not provide an email address, you’ll receive your SAR by mail a few weeks after your report has been processed.

Because the information in your SAR will be used to help determine your college aid eligibility, it’s important for you to understand how to read the report and make any necessary changes. Errors on your SAR could mean you receive less college money to help pay for school, which could prevent you from getting your college degree at your top school.

Scholarships and grants are considered “gift aid,” in other words, money you don’t have to pay back, so be sure to accept that before any college loans, which do need to be paid back.

What Is Included in a Student Aid Report (SAR)?

The SAR summarizes the financial aid information you gave on your FAFSA. Your SAR will inform you whether you are eligible for a Federal Pell Grant, as well as for other federal grants, college loans or work-study programs. It will also state whether your FAFSA form has been selected for verification. Each year, some FAFSA forms are selected for this process, in which your school confirms that the information on your FAFSA is accurate. If your FAFSA is selected for verification, your school may contact you to request documentation supporting what you listed on your form.

The SAR will also inform you if you are required to provide additional information to be eligible for federal aid. If no further information is needed from you, your SAR will include your expected family contribution (EFC), the amount of college money you are expected to contribute toward your college education. The Department of Education, as well as colleges and universities, will use your EFC as they determine whether you are eligible for federal aid.

If more information is needed from you, your SAR will not include your EFC. Instead, the financial aid office at your school will contact you to answer all outstanding questions.

Source:  Campus Explorer

Message From The Dean – Bob Fulcomer

By now, you should have completed all of your FAFSA and admissions applications for the school(s) you have selected. Now is the time for you to make sure you gather all of your supporting documents in preparation for the SAR and award letter(s) that you will be receiving shortly.  It normally takes around 4 to 6 weeks to get any response back once you have submitted your FAFSA.  Be sure to follow up with each school if you don’t hear back from them after the allotted time.  Keep your HIFE Coach informed of all correspondence

10 FAFSA Mistakes That Affect Financial Aid

A mistake on your FAFSA can delay the processing of your application for financial aid! About 30% of all FAFSAs were selected for verification, a process intended to identify and correct common errors. Some colleges voluntarily required 100% of FAFSAs to undergo verification. If your FAFSA is verified and contains errors, it can cost you.

To avoid these errors, get started early and use the online version of the FAFSA. The online FAFSA has built-in “edit checks” that can catch and prevent many errors. If you use a printed version of the FAFSA, be sure to proofread your application before you submit it.

The IRS Data Retrieval Tool can be used to copy the answers to some FAFSA questions directly from your federal income tax return. If you do not modify those answers, those questions will not be subject to verification. This will reduce the likelihood that your FAFSA will be selected for verification, saving you time and hassle.

Do not, however, wait until you file your federal income tax returns to file the FAFSA. Some states have very early deadlines for state grants, and some states award their grants on a first-come, first- served basis.

Use the Pre-Application Worksheet to insure you’ve gathered all the necessary information. The worksheet is updated every year, so if this year isn’t available yet, keep checking until it is.

Avoid the most common mistakes:

  1. The most frequent mistake made on the printed form is leaving a field blank. If the answer is zero or the question does not apply to you, write in a zero. If you leave a question blank, the processor will assume that you forgot to answer.
  2. Use the 1040 federal tax return for income reporting and reporting taxes paid. If you use your W-2 and 1099 forms, compare them with the previous year’s income tax return to make sure you did not overlook any source of income, such as interest and dividends
  3. Don’t forget to report all the required sources of untaxed income. These include Social Security, child support and workers compensation/disability income.
  4. Report your correct marital status. If you plan to file as a married student, you must be married on or before the date that you sign your FAFSA.
  5. If your parents are divorced, your stepparent’s financial information must be reported in addition to the financial information for your custodial parent.
  6. Include yourself in the household size. Even if you didn’t live there during the previous year, you should always include yourself as part of your parent’s household.
  7. Don’t forget to sign the application. If you’re filing as a dependent, both you and your parents must sign. If you file online, you and your parents can sign the form electronically using your PIN numbers.
  8. Remember to file on time. Priority for programs with limited funds is often given to students who file the FAFSA as soon after January 1 as possible
  9. As with all forms and applications, make sure you read the instructions and questions carefully. If you’re unclear about a question or are having trouble filling out the FAFSA, check the FAQ section on the FAFSA website, or call the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).
  10. On the paper form, follow instructions with regard to using a pen or pencil.

Make sure to fill it out right the first time, and you’ll have your financial aid award letter in no time.

Source:   Mike Pugh, Fastweb March 2014

Coach’s Corner:  Comments From Article On “Filing Time- FAFSA Checklist”

Here are a few things you need to do (in addition to the FAFSA Checklist) to assist your HIFE Coach in helping you apply to your desired college or university:

  • Work with your assigned HIFE Coach to get guidance in completing the FAFSA application.
  • Narrow your college selection to around 5 to 10 schools that you would like to attend.
  • Once you have completed your FAFSA application, have your Coach review the application for any possible mistakes that you have overlooked.
  • Ask your HIFE Coach to help you monitor the different deadline dates for each school that you apply to.
  • Provide your HIFE Coach a copy of the Student Aid Report as soon as you have received it from your school.
  • Provide your HIFE Coach with your award letter(s). Remember: you do not have to accept the award if you do not feel that the amount is adequate.  Your HIFE Coach can assist you in the reconsideration or appeals process.
  • Review with your HIFE Coach what your best options are before you decide with your final selection.
  • Always ask your HIFE Coach for help ahead of time before you make a final decision.

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