Soon after you file your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), you’ll receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). While this document won’t tell you how much financial aid you’ll receive (you’ll have to wait for financial aid award letters for that), it does contain plenty of valuable information. So read it closely.

What is a Student Aid Report (SAR)?

Your SAR is a document that summarizes all the information you provided when filling out the FAFSA. It also estimates your eligibility for federal loans and the Federal Pell Grant, and includes your Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Your EFC is determined using a standard formula that includes factors like the number of students in your household attending college, your family’s income, and more. It’s not necessarily the amount that your family will be responsible for but it is a number that schools use to calculate how much financial aid you may be eligible to receive.

When do I get my SAR?

Generally, you will receive your Student Aid Report 3–5 days after filing your FAFSA electronically. If you filed your FAFSA by mail, it can take up to 3 weeks to receive your SAR. If you do not receive your SAR within the expected time frame, you can check the status online at or contact the Federal Student Aid office.

What is included in my Student Aid Report?

In addition to all the information from your FAFSA and your EFC, your SAR contains:

  • A four-digit Data Release Number (DRN) used to make changes or release your information to schools
  • Graduation, retention and transfer rates of any colleges that you listed on your FAFSA
  • An estimate of your federal student loan eligibility
  • Instructions on how to resolve any issues

Why is a Student Aid Report important?

The SAR gives you a glimpse into your financial aid eligibility, and can help you adjust your expectations about your family’s expected financial contribution to your education and the amount of aid you might receive. The Student Aid Report goes to you, but the schools you’ve applied to have access to it, too—and they use that info to make financial aid decisions. So it’s crucial to make sure all the information on it is accurate, and correct it if you find any errors.

What happens next?

When you receive your SAR, carefully review it and compare it with what you filed on the FAFSA. If you need to make a correction, you can:

  • Update your information online at
  • Make updates on your paper Student Aid Report, sign it and mail it to the address listed on the SAR.
  • Check with your intended school's financial aid office to see if the school can make the change for you.

You will start to receive your financial aid award letters from colleges generally beginning in March. Once you do, the Award Letter Comparison tool from Discover® Student Loans can help you evaluate and compare your various offers.

FAFSA® is a registered trademark of the US Department of Education and is not affiliated with Discover Student Loans.

The SAR contains only information about federal student aid (e.g., grants, scholarships, federal student loans) available through the FAFSA. Discover® Student Loans only makes private loans.

How helpful was this content?




scholarship award

You could win a $5,000 scholarship for college!

Sign up for emails with helpful college tips and resources to enter. Official Rules

More to Explore

Interested in private student loans?

Learn More