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Student Aid Report (SAR)

Last updated 29th Nov 2022


The Student Aid Report, or SAR, is a document that summarizes the information supplied on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The report also contains an estimate of the Expected Family Contribution, or EFC.


Delivery of the Student Aid Report is the second step in the financial aid process:

  1. Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): application for student aid
  2. Student Aid Report: validation of information appearing on the FAFSA
  3. Expected Family Contribution: quantification of the student's share of college expenses
  4. Award Letter: offer of student aid from the financial aid office of the educational institution

Roughly four weeks after a student completes their Free Application for Federal Student Aid, the U.S. Department of Education will return to the student their Student Aid Report. Students are expected to carefully review the information found on the SAR, verifying the accuracy of the data in the report. If there are any outstanding issues, such as mistakes or inconsistencies in the FAFSA, the student will receive a SAR containing blanks that must be corrected and returned for reprocessing.

The report will contain the information supplied on the FAFSA, plus a dollar value for the Expected Family Contribution or EFC. Colleges will use the EFC to determine the student's need, the amount, and the type of financial aid package offered.

Once finalized, an Institutional Student Information Record, or ISIR, is sent electronically to the college's financial aid offices as indicated by the student on the FAFSA. The ISIR is also delivered to state-level agencies responsible for providing financial aid to students. The ISIR contains a subset of information found on the FAFSA.

Related Terms

Free Application for Federal Student Aid, Expected Family Contribution, Award Letter

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