How long does it take for the FAFSA to be processed?
According to the FSA, the FAFSA takes about 3-5 days to process if you submit it online. If you submit it on paper, it typically takes about 7-10 days. Upon processing, responses will be returned instantly if you fill out your online contact information correctly. If you opt to receive your results back via mail, they will take longer to reach you. As a result, you might not receive your results for 2-3 weeks.
Also see: How to complete this year’s FAFSA
What will I learn from the results?
Once the FAFSA is processed, your results will be returned in the form of a Student Aid Report, or SAR. As you receive your SAR, the colleges that you applied to will receive copies as well. This report contains your Expected Family Contribution, or EFC. This figure determines how much the government expects you and your family to pay for your education. It is determined by analyzing you and your parents’ income and assets.
When do I receive my financial aid offers from schools?
Once the FAFSA is processed, the schools you submit it to will begin their financial aid review. If you are accepted to the college, they will use the FAFSA information to help determine your financial aid. It is typically considered in conjunction with the CSS Profile. Each school varies in the time it takes to put together a financial aid package. Typically, the financial aid offer will accompany your acceptance letter.
Read more: CSS Profile Vs. FAFSA: What you need to know
When do schools receive my FAFSA information?
When you receive your student aid report, the schools you listed on your application will also receive Institutional Student Aid Reports. These contain the same information that is on your SAR. So, if you have received your FAFSA results, rest assured that the schools you listed have received them too.
Related: How to add more schools to the FAFSA
Better safe than sorry
Although the FAFSA is typically reliable in its timeline, it’s a good idea to submit it on the earlier side. It’s good to know your EFC as early as possible so you can make financial decisions with it in mind. It’s also helpful to leave some wiggle room in case there is a technical error with your application. It could be that you or one of your parents forgets to sign it or some of the figures were incorrect. In situations like these, it’s good to have time to troubleshoot.
Learn more: When is this year’s FAFSA deadline?
How do I know if my FAFSA was approved?
You can check the status of your FAFSA application by logging into your account at fafsa.gov. Click on the “My FAFSA” page to check if your FAFSA has been accepted.