College FAFSA Frequently Asked Questions

We are in the final stretch before FAFSA submissions begin in January.  To help you, we have dedicated this issue to our most frequently asked questions that we hope you will find helpful!
 
Question: “When can I file my FAFSA?”
Answer: The FAFSA opens on January 1, 2016.  However, you have until February 15th to submit your FAFSA and be considered in the first priority group.  Last year Illinois ran out of money on February 22nd.  So if you are hoping for Illinois money, file early.
 
Question: What is the Student Aid Report (SAR)?
Answer: The Student Aid Report is the document that becomes available at https://fafsa.ed.gov/ after the FAFSA has been processed.  The SAR will list all of the information that you provided on the FAFSA. You  should review this information carefully to make sure it is correct.  The SAR will also contain your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) which measures your family’s financial strength and determines your eligibility for federal student aid.  The school will use this number to determine how much financial aid your family is eligible to receive based on the school’s cost of attendance and their ability to award aid.
 
Question: “When will we receive our Financial Aid Award offer?”
Answer: The timing can vary from school to school depending on factors, such as the date the FAFSA was submitted, the number of FAFSAs the college received.  The college will not be able to tell the family an exact time frame, but they can reasonably expect the offer any time from the beginning of March to mid-April.  The award letter will be sent to your home or student’s email explaining the details of the package available.  It will likely be distributed each semester, quarter or other payment period.  The aid will be used first to pay tuition, room and board, and fees.  If there is any money remaining, it will be paid to the student directly and can be used for miscellaneous expenses such as books, travel etc.  It is important to go on the college website and accept or decline the loans, grants and merit aid that was awarded to the student.
 
YOU MUST HAVE FSA IDs and Passwords and College Board usernames and passwords BEFORE you can submit the financial aid forms!

  • FSA ID usernames and passwords for students and one custodial parent- Go to https://fsaid.ed.gov  and click on “Create an FSA ID”.
  • College Board usernames and passwords for students submitting CSS Profile- Go to www.collegeboard.com

Learn more about Everett Wealth Solutions - College Funding Service.