Personal Finance

How Long FAFSA Takes to Process and When You’ll Get Student Aid Report

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  • The government will process your FAFSA within three to five days if you applied online.
  • Submitting your FAFSA will generate your Student Aid Report, which summarizes the info you input.
  • When you fill out the FAFSA online, you will receive a SAR in your email. 

If you need financial aid to go to school, you’ll need to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid every year you’re enrolled. After you submit the form, you’ll want to follow up on the documents you submitted to make sure they got to the right place. Here’s the timeline to expect. 

What is the FAFSA?

The FAFSA is a form that determines what types of student aid you qualify for — like grants, scholarships, work study, and loans. You’ll need to provide various documents to determine how much aid you’ll receive.

Most colleges and universities use the information you put down on the FAFSA to come up with your financial aid package, which includes aid from both the government and your school.

How long does the FAFSA take to process? 

The Department of Education will process your application within three to five days if you applied online, or seven to 10 days if you sent in your application by mail. 

After the government processes your application, you’ll get a copy of your Student Aid Report, or SAR, which essentially summarizes all the information you input on your FAFSA form. Take a moment to look over your information and ensure everything you’ve submitted is accurate. If there are any errors, correct your form as soon as possible. 

How do you access your Student Aid Report?

When you fill out the FAFSA online, you will receive a SAR in your email from If you mail in your FAFSA, you’ll receive a paper acknowledgement through the mail.

Your SAR will contain information like your Expected Family Contribution, or EFC, which is used to determine the amount of financial aid you get for school. The SAR also comes with a summary of your federal student loans, details you input on the FAFSA form, and your approximate eligibility for federal student loans and a federal Pell Grant in the “Financial Aid History” tab.

Here’s the estimate arrival times if you submit it through, per the Federal Student Aid website:

Student aid report screenshot

If you submit your FAFSA without an email address, it may take up to 2 weeks to get your SAR.

Federal Student Aid

If you need to make any corrections, this is how long it will take to see them reflected on your SAR:

FAFSA corrections SAR

Changes to your SAR should be reflected pretty quickly.

Federal Student Aid

The schools you put on your FAFSA will get access to your SAR data electronically within a day after it is processed.

If you can’t find the SAR in your inbox after the expected arrival time, you should be able to access it by logging on to the Federal Student Aid website with your FSA ID. Click “View SAR” from the “My FAFSA” page. 

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