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What’s the FAFSA® Submission Summary?

Published February 22, 2024| minute read
Hadiya Iqbal

Senior Associate, JPMorgan Chase

    Once students submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), they’ll receive a FAFSA® Submission Summary from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid.

    In essence, the FAFSA® Submission Summary provides students with basic insights into their potential financial aid eligibility. It can help set their expectations about how much federal student aid they may be able to receive.

    Continue reading as we break down the FAFSA® Submission Summary, what each section in the summary report includes, and answers to common questions about it.

    The FAFSA® Submission Summary in a nutshell

    The FAFSA® Submission Summary is a paper or electronic document that includes your provided answers to the questions on the FAFSA® form along with additional information like your official Student Aid Index (SAI) calculation and Federal Pell Grant eligibility.

    If you submitted a FAFSA® in past years, you might be familiar with the Student Aid Report (SAR), which previously provided this information. Beginning with the 2024-25 FAFSA®, the FAFSA® Submission Summary replaces the SAR.

    If you provided a valid email address on your FAFSA® form, you’ll receive an email with instructions detailing how you can access your FAFSA® Submission Summary on You’ll also receive an email when your FAFSA® Submission Summary is available.

    From there, you’ll eventually receive financial aid award letters from the schools you’ve been accepted to detailing what aid they can provide you with, if any. This might include federal financial aid and other types of aid, like institutional scholarships.

    What information is included in a FAFSA® Submission Summary?

    See below for a breakdown of the information in each section of the summary.

    “Eligibility Overview” tab:

    In this section, you’ll see the date that your FAFSA® application was received and the date the U.S. Department of Education processed it, along with the data points noted below. 

    Data Release Number (DRN)

    Your DRN is a four-digit number you’ll need to provide to a financial aid administrator at your school or customer service agents at the FSA information center if you allow them to change certain information that you notice needs correcting on your FAFSA® form.

    Your SAI calculation

    If your FAFSA® form is complete and fully processed, you’ll be given your SAI on your FAFSA® Submission Summary, which is based on the financial information you, and if you’re a dependent, your parent or legal guardian provided. This number indicates the estimate for your federal student aid eligibility.

    The colleges you’re accepted to will use your SAI to help determine how much financial aid to award you, if any. This includes federal financial aid.

    It’s important to remember that your FAFSA® Submission Summary isn’t your financial aid award letter (that will come directly from the colleges and universities you get accepted to). It’s also important to remember that your SAI number isn’t the amount of money you or your family will have to pay for college or the amount of federal student aid you’ll ultimately receive.

    You may see the term “action required” instead of a SAI number on your submission summary. This means that the U.S. Department of Education needs additional information to determine your eligibility for federal student aid.

    A note that you’ve been selected for verification

    You may see a note on your FAFSA® Submission Summary indicating that you’ve been selected for verification. You’ll be alerted to this with an asterisk next to your SAI. What does being selected for verification mean? This means that a school needs additional information to confirm that the data reported on your FAFSA® form is accurate.

    “FAFSA® Form Answers” tab:

    In this section, you’ll see the answers you and your contributor, if applicable (be it a parent or spouse), provided on your FAFSA® form.

    “School Information” tab:

    This section includes the schools you chose to have your information sent to when you completed the FAFSA® form.

    “Next Steps” tab:

    Here, you’ll see any comments regarding your FAFSA®. These could be a correction you need to make or a request for additional information. Some comments may not require any action and are just provided for informational purposes.

    Common FAQs about the FAFSA® Submission Summary

    See below for answers to commonly asked questions regarding the FAFSA® Submission Summary.

    What should I do when I receive my FAFSA® Submission Summary?

    Once you receive your FAFSA® Submission Summary, you should review all the information included on the report to ensure its correct since the schools you listed on your FAFSA® will use this information to help determine your federal financial aid eligibility.   

    Use the checklist and comments under the “Next Steps” tab in the summary to ensure you resolve any issues.

    Once you review your FAFSA® Submission Summary carefully to make sure it’s correct, keep your summary for your records. If you do need to make changes, follow the FAFSA® corrections process.

    What if I find a mistake in my FAFSA® Submission Summary?

    If you find a mistake in your summary, you can correct or update your FAFSA® online or on paper. You can also ask schools to make the corrections for you. This is when you’ll need to provide your DRN.

    When will I receive my FAFSA® Submission Summary?

    Those who submitted their FAFSA® online and provided a valid email address on their FAFSA® will receive an email when their FAFSA® Submission Summary is available to view beginning in the first half of March. However, there could be delays with the 2024-25 FAFSA®.

    If you filed a paper FAFSA®, you’ll most likely receive your summary through the mail within three weeks, although again, there could be delays for filers of the 2024-25 FAFSA®

    How do I view my FAFSA® Submission Summary?

    You can get a copy of your summary and view or print it by:

    • Using your FSA username and password to sign in to
    • Going to your account dashboard
    • Selecting your processed FAFSA® submission
    • Clicking “View FAFSA® Submission Summary”

    What’s the difference between a FAFSA® Submission Summary and a financial aid offer?

    As mentioned above, your FAFSA® Submission Summary and financial aid offer are two different documents with different information. Your FAFSA® Submission Summary provides information regarding your potential federal student aid eligibility.

    Your financial aid offer will tell you the exact types and amounts of financial aid a particular college is able to offer you (if any). Schools will usually wait to send aid offer letters until you’ve been accepted to attend.

    Final thoughts

    Not only is it important to submit your FAFSA® to potentially access federal student aid and other types of financial aid, but after you do, it’s important to review your FAFSA® Submission Summary so you can make sure it accurately reflects your financial situation to help you access aid you may be eligible for. If you need to, there’s a process to make changes.