Student Aid Report (SAR)

Filing the FAFSA, 2015-2016 Edition (Cover)
Download the free guide:

After the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has been filed, the student will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR). The SAR summarizes the information provided on the FAFSA and includes the student’s expected family contribution (EFC) and an estimate of the student’s eligibility for the Federal Pell Grant.

A SAR Acknowledgment is sent electronically if the student provides an email address on the FAFSA on the Web. If the student does not provide an email address, a paper SAR is mailed to the student at the student’s permanent home address that was listed on the FAFSA.

College Information on the SAR

Adobe Acrobat PDF Download the PDF: Sample Student Aid Report

In addition to the student’s EFC, the Student Aid Report also includes information about each of the colleges listed on the FAFSA, including graduation rates, retention rates and transfer rates.

  • The graduation rate is the percentage of students receiving a degree or certificate within 150% of the normal timeframe for attaining a degree or certificate (e.g., 6 years for a 4-year program).
  • The retention rate is the percentage of first-time, first-year undergraduate students who return to the college the next year.
  • The transfer rate is the percentage of the first-time, first-year undergraduate students who transfer to another college within 150% of the normal timeframe for attaining a degree or certificate.

Adding Colleges to the FAFSA

Each college or university the student lists in Section 2 on the FAFSA will receive an Institutional Student Information Record or “ISIR.” This is an electronic record of all the information the student and his/her family reported on the FAFSA. Colleges use the ISIR to determine the student’s eligibility for federal student aid and to create a financial aid package, if applicable, for the student. The colleges receive an ISIR at about the same time as the student receives the SAR.

The student can add additional colleges to the SAR or change the list of colleges on FAFSA on the Web (FOTW). These colleges will then be sent the student’s information. Colleges can also obtain a student’s SAR if the student provides the college financial aid administrator with the four-digit Data Release Number (DRN) from the upper right corner of the first page of the paper SAR. (On an electronic SAR, the DRN appears below the EFC in the box with the application receipt date.)

Review the SAR and Make Corrections

The student should review the SAR for accuracy. The student can make corrections on the electronic or paper SAR.

Some data elements on the SAR will be marked with an asterisk. If the applicant left some fields blank on the FAFSA, the federal processor may make reasonable assumptions about the values based on other information provided on the FAFSA. For example, if the student filed a federal income tax return but left the adjusted gross income (AGI) field blank, the federal processor will set the field to the value of the student’s income earned from work (plus the income earned from work of the student’s spouse, if the student is married). These fields should be corrected if the assumed values are incorrect.

The student and parents should also use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to update the income and tax information on the FAFSA after they file their federal income tax returns.

Keep a Copy of the SAR

Students should keep a copy of the SAR with the rest of their financial aid documents. Private scholarship providers may also require a copy of the SAR as part of their application materials.