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After FAFSA Checklist

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. Remember, if you have questions please reach out to your Program Manager, and have your metnee reach out to the financial aid departments of the colleges you are applying to if they need to. 

Fall

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. The SAR will also indicate if there are any issues that need to be addressed with your FAFSA. It is extremely important that your mentee reviews 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 mentee to fill out their own financial aid forms. These forms will either be sent to your mentee or found online and they are to be sent directly back to the colleges. If you are unsure whether your mentee's college(s) requires additional forms, your mentee should visit the school’s website, contact the Financial Aid Office, or speak with a counselor/advisor. 

Complete Verification (if selected)

Colleges may require additional documents to confirm the information your mentee reported on their financial aid forms. For example, your mentee may be asked to provide Official Tax Return Transcripts, proof of citizenship, documentation of legal guardianship (if applicable), etc. Their financial aid award will be pending until they submit all requested documentation by the college’s deadline. Complete verification as soon as possible.

The verification process will be easier and quicker if your mentee uses the IRS Data Retrieval Tool on their FAFSA. We also suggest that they request copies of their family’s 2015 IRS Tax Return Transcript, as some colleges will require this as part of the verification process. Your mentee can request a free IRS Tax Return Transcript here or by calling 1-800-908-9946.

Some private schools that require the CSS/PROFILE may also require verification called IDOC.  For more information, click here

Spring

Compare Financial Aid Award Letters

Once your mentee has been accepted to a college, and completed all the steps above, the college will then send you 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. Your mentee should review and compare all award letters before sending off a tuition deposit (usually required by May 1st). For more information about financial aid award letters, check out the articles below:

Make a Tuition Deposit

After reviewing all financial aid award letters, the college your mentee chooses will expect them to pay a non-refundable deposit to hold their place for classes and dorms on or by May 1.

If your mentee's tuition deposit deadline is approaching and they still have not received an award letter, have your mentee contact the financial aid office or their counselor/advisor for help. Make sure you mentee does not make a deposit at any college that has not given them a financial aid award letter.

Understand the Term Bill

Your mentee's 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 your mentee must pay your fall bill before starting classes in September.

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 your mentee as the student understand the rights and responsibilities of their loan. They must complete Entrance Counseling in order for their loans to be disbursed to the college. Have your mentee contact their college and find out how they would like you to complete this process. Many colleges use this website.

MPN is a legally binding agreement that your mentee as the student will repay the loan(s). Check to make sure they've read and understood their rights and responsibilities before they sign it. Your mentee cannot receive their Federal Direct Student Loan(s) without signing their MPN. Your mentee can complete here.

Understand Health Insurance Costs

If your mentee is 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 your mentee contact their college or counselor/advisor for more information.