The Student Aid Report is a summary of all the information you submitted. However, if you have used the IRS data recovery tool, it will not display your tax information. The SAR also lists an “expected family contribution” or EFC in the upper right corner of the page. Your CEF is the key to all financial aid.
Many parents are shocked by their expected family contribution. But the name is a bit of a misnomer – it’s not necessarily the amount you’ll pay (indeed, you could be paying a lot more). Instead, colleges use the CFE to determine how much financial aid you are eligible for from federal, state, and institutional sources. For federal financial aid, your financial needs are equal to the cost of attending college minus your CEF. Keep in mind that if your CEF is very low, many colleges do not offer sufficient financial assistance to meet the need.
Note that the student aid report is not the same as a financial aid award letter, which comes after you are accepted into colleges. These letters will break down the financial aid program offered by a college.
(Bonus tip: The EFC is displayed in a strange way. If your EFC is $ 8,000, for example, the SAR lists it as 008000.)
When your Student Aid report is ready, you will receive an email notification to log in, review, and correct or update errors as needed. If your SAR is incomplete, you will not see EFCs listed. Some corrections can be made online, but generally updates to your financial information or your dependency and marital status require contacting each college directly. If you’ve used the data recovery tool, you can’t update any of that income information, Bickford says.