Submitting the FAFSA is an important step in the financial aid process. But there is still more to do. This article lists the next steps in the process. Check out this student facing document on financial aid next steps from FormYourFuture,
- Review and Update the Student Aid Report
- Complete Additional Forms
- Complete Verification
- Compare Financial Aid Award Letters
- Make a Tuition Deposit
- Understand the Term Bill
- Complete Entrance Loan Counseling/sign MPN
- Understand Health Insurance Costs
Review and Update the Student Aid Report (SAR)
The SAR is a summary of information you reported on your FAFSA and will include your family’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). It will be available to view online at www.fafsa.gov within a few days of submitting the FAFSA. If students provided a valid email address, they’ll receive an email from [email protected] with instructions on how to access an online copy of their SAR.
The SAR will also indicate if there are any issues that need to be addressed with your FAFSA - including if they've been selected for verification.
It is extremely important that students review their SAR with a counselor/advisor to make sure all the information is accurate.
Complete Additional Forms
CSS/PROFILE: This form is required by some private colleges. To see the list of colleges and to complete the form, click here.
Institutional Financial Aid forms: Some colleges will require your students to fill out their own financial aid forms. These forms will either be sent to your student or found online and they are to be sent directly back to the colleges. If you are unsure whether your student's college(s) requires additional forms, your student should visit the school’s website, contact the Financial Aid Office, or speak with a counselor/advisor.
Complete Verification (if selected)
What is Verification?
After completing the FAFSA, some students may be informed that their application has been selected for financial aid verification, which is the process that colleges use to confirm that the data reported in the FAFSA is accurate.
Being selected for financial aid verification doesn’t mean you are accused of doing something wrong. If students find themselves selected for verification, it’s important to complete the verification and submit the requested documentation by the school’s deadline, or they may not be able to receive financial aid.
Of the estimated 1.1M seniors who will complete a FAFSA, almost half will be selected for verification. Of those students, approximately 32,000 of them never provide the verification information, rendering themselves ineligible for aid, and unlikely to attend. Read more about how FAFSA verification can hinder low-income students from enrolling in college.
Supporting your students with Verification
Although the verification process can feel intimidating, there are several things you can do to support your students with getting it done.
- Remind students to check their emails and portals. Colleges will often post messages to students on their online portals with information that is missing, including financial documentation needed.
- Become familiar with common verification forms.
- Remind students of the types of documentation they need for income.
- Support students with reaching out to colleges to resolve questions.
Compare Financial Aid Award Letters
Once students have been accepted to a college, and completed all the steps above, the college will then send them a financial aid award letter. The award letter will inform them of the amount of financial aid they will receive if they choose to attend that college. For more information about comparing financial aid awards, click here.
Make a Tuition Deposit
After reviewing all financial aid award letters, the college your student chooses will expect them to pay a non-refundable deposit to hold their place for classes and dorms on or by May 1. Students may be eligible to waive this deposit depending on the type of institution they are attending or if they have a certain EFC (usually under $3,000). Have students reach out to the college directly for more information.
If student's tuition deposit deadline is approaching and they still have not received an award letter, have them contact the financial aid office or their counselor/advisor for help. Make sure your students does not make a deposit at any college that has not given them a financial aid award letter.
Understand the Term Bill
The tuition bill for the year is split into two payments—fall and spring semester.
They will receive their fall bill via mail or their student web portal in June or July. Bill due dates vary by college but students must pay their fall bill before starting classes in September. Have students reach out to their PSP PM if they have questions about their bill.
Options for paying their bill include: savings, taking out additional loans, or setting up a tuition payment plan through their college’s Student Accounts Office or Bursar’s Office. A tuition payment plan allows them to pay their bill over the course of 10-12 months in equal amounts. In addition, enrollment fees for these plans range from $35-$85.
Complete Entrance Loan Counseling/sign MPN (if borrowing federal loans)
Entrance Loan Counseling helps students understand the rights and responsibilities of their loan. They must complete Entrance Counseling in order for their loans to be disbursed to the college.
MPN is a legally binding agreement that students will repay the loan(s). Check to make sure they've read and understood their rights and responsibilities before they sign it. Students cannot receive their Federal Direct Student Loan(s) without signing their MPN. They can complete both here.
Understand Health Insurance Costs
If students are taking more than 9 credits, they will automatically be enrolled in their college’s health insurance plan. Generally, insurance plans cost $1,400-$2,200 and are charged to their fall bill.
If they already have comparable health insurance, they may be able to waive your college’s insurance and have the cost removed from their bill. Have students contact their college or counselor/advisor for more information.