How to check your FAFSA® status
Now that you’ve submitted your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) to apply for federal student aid such as federal grants and loans, you may wonder what happens next and how to check your FAFSA® status.
Continue reading as we answer questions you may have about your FAFSA® status and what to expect after you’ve submitted your FAFSA®.
Where and when to check your FAFSA® status
If you submit your FAFSA® electronically, it will typically take three to five days to see your application processed. You can check the status of your FAFSA® immediately after submitting it online.
If you submit a paper FAFSA®, you can check the status of your application online once it’s been processed, roughly seven to ten days from the date it was mailed.
To check the status of your FAFSA®, log in to studentaid.gov with your Federal Student Aid ID. You’ll be able to view your status right after you log in if you’ve started or completed a FAFSA®.
You can also check the status of your FAFSA® form by contacting the Federal Student Aid Information Center at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243).
Of note, there could be delays in processing times for the 2024-25 FAFSA® specifically, given that the release date of the application was delayed from October to December in 2023.
When you check the status of your FAFSA®, you may see several statuses such as processing, processed successfully, missing signatures, and action required.
You may also be selected for verification, which means your school wants to confirm that the data reported on your FAFSA® form is accurate. If you’re selected for verification, your school may request additional documentation to support your reported information.
What to expect after you file your FAFSA®
Below is a general outline of what you can expect after you’ve submitted your FAFSA®.
FAFSA® Submission Summary:
Within three days to three weeks after your FAFSA® has been processed, you’ll receive access to your FAFSA® Submission Summary electronically in most cases (or via the mail in a small number of cases).
This will summarize the information you reported on your FAFSA®. That includes your Student Aid Index (SAI), your estimated eligibility for federal student loans and federal Pell Grants, and whether you’ve been selected for verification. When you receive your FAFSA® Submission Summary, it’s important to carefully review it to ensure all the included information is correct. If you don’t have any changes to your FAFSA® Submission Summary, you can just keep it for your records.
You’ll need to correct or update your FAFSA® form on studentaid.gov if you notice a mistake. If you have questions or need help to do this, contact your school’s financial aid office to see if they may be able to provide assistance.
Of note, there could be delays for 2024-25 FAFSA® filers when it comes to receiving their FAFSA® Submission Summary.
Financial aid award letter:
Typically, in early to mid-April (although this varies by school), you’ll receive financial aid award letters from the colleges you applied to and included on your FAFSA® that have accepted you as a student. The award letters will list what financial aid each school is offering (if any), including specific scholarships and federal loans. The purpose of the financial aid package offered by each school is to help you bridge the gap between your and your family’s ability to pay for school and the school’s cost of attendance (COA). Aid packages will vary from school to school.
After you receive and review the award letters, depending on the school, you may be asked to sign the letters and send them back to each school in order to accept or reject each kind of financial aid offered to you. Some schools may also allow you to complete this process online. Notably, you can decide to accept some aid but not all aid offered to you by a school. For instance, you can decide to accept all of the scholarships offered to you but decline loans or to accept a combination of both.
Financial aid disbursement:
Once you select the college you’ll be attending and, if required, have signed your financial aid award letter, your school will handle the disbursement of the funds you’re eligible for and have accepted. Each school disburses (or pays out) aid on a different schedule, partially determined by whether you’ve submitted all the required paperwork on time.
Generally, the aid you receive (such as grants or loans) will cover an academic year, and your school will pay out the money in at least two payments throughout the year, called disbursements. In most cases, schools will make disbursements at least once per term (depending on the school, that could be every semester, trimester, or quarter). Schools that don’t have traditional terms such as semesters or quarters usually must disburse funds at least twice per academic year. You must submit a FAFSA® application yearly for each school year you would like to be considered for federal financial aid and to ultimately receive aid if you’re eligible.
Checking your financial aid status can be crucial when planning to pay for college. Whether you check online or wait for your FAFSA® Submission Summary, understanding your financial aid status as well as what financial aid is being offered to you, if any, can make it easier to choose what school you’ll attend and whether you’ll need to apply for additional financial aid, like additional scholarships.