Student Aid Report (SAR)
After filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the processor will analyze the application information using a federal formula to calculate an Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The results of the application are sent to the schools listed on the FAFSA and to the student. The student will receive an e-Mail Notification of Student Aid Report (SAR) Processing, a SAR Acknowledgement, or a paper SAR, depending on the type of FAFSA filed and whether the applicant's e-mail address was provided on the FAFSA. A student could receive one of the three types of output documents:
- An e-Mail Notification of SAR Processing (for applicant's who provide and e-mail address) is sent to within 3-5 days and notifies the student of the application and eligibility status more quickly than the paper SAR or the SAR Acknowledgement. The e-mail Notification of SAR Processing provides instructions on how to access an electronic SAR (e-SAR) online and print the online SAR as often as needed. An applicant should wait at least 24 hours after submitting a FAFSA electronically before checking the status online.
- The SAR Acknowledgement, sent within 7-10 days of processing, provides a summary of the processing results of applications entered electronically by the school or input via FAFSA on the Web (FOTW) and no e-mail address was provided. The SAR Acknowledgement is also an eligibility document and provides the EFC number but it cannot be used to make corrections like the paper SAR. Corrections to an application entered electronically must be made by the student via the Correction Entry on FAFSA on the Web or by the school via FAA Access to the CPS.
- A paper Student Aid Report (SAR) is designed to notify the student of the application and eligibility status and provides a paper-based means of correcting or confirming application data. A paper SAR is sent within three weeks of processing.
Each type of the output document summarizes the data that was provided on the FAFSA. The primary purpose of the SAR is to report the EFC. A formula, called Federal Methodology, is used to determine the EFC. The student does not need to take or send the SAR or SAR Acknowledgement to a postsecondary school that already received the student’s EFC and FAFSA information electronically via the Institutional Student Information Record (ISIR). The postsecondary school must receive the student’s information in order for the student to receive federal financial aid at that school.
Unless the student’s FAFSA has been rejected, the EFC is printed in the upper right corner of the front page of output documentation. In addition, there is a section for the financial aid administrator’s use and a section of summary data from the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS). If the student has not had any previous federal student aid, this section will be blank.
After a FAFSA has been successfully processed (whether the application was filed electronically or via the paper), the e-SAR can be viewed online by selecting the "View Processed Information" button on the My FAFSA page of FAFSA on the Web. The e-SAR shows the same information the paper SAR does. The student will be able to print a copy of the e-SAR for reference.
The 2020-21 documents will be printed on orange paper. Refer to the 2020-21 Summary of Changes for the Application Processing System to learn about the changes to the SAR or SAR Acknowledgement. Refer to Appendix D of the 2020-21-ISIR Guide for more detailed information about each of the output documents. The 2020-21 SAR Comment Codes and Text Guide includes a full listing of comment code text and description of changes.