After Completing the FAFSA


Your FAFSA is Filed, Now What?

Congratulations on filing your FAFSA! You’ve taken a big step toward securing financial aid for college. Now that you’ve completed your application, it’s time to figure out what happens next. Understanding the process that follows will help you stay on track and ensure you get the financial aid you need. From receiving confirmation emails to evaluating financial aid offers, we’re here to guide you every step of the way. Let’s dive into what you can expect after submitting your Free Application for Federal Student Aid and how to make the most of your financial aid opportunities. 

Confirmation and Processing

After submitting your FAFSA, you’ll get a confirmation email. This email means your application is being reviewed. If you have corrections, they can’t be made until processing of your application is complete. In about 3-5 days, your FAFSA will be processed and you’ll receive a FAFSA Submission Summary via email. Review this information carefully. 

Possible Paths for Your FAFSA: 

Processed: Your information is sent to colleges. 

Action Required: Fix issues like missing signatures or incorrect information as outlined in your summary. 

Verification: Provide additional documentation if selected. 

If there are no errors, your Student Aid Index (SAI) will appear on your FAFSA Submission Summary. Schools use your SAI to determine financial aid eligibility. Schools you listed will access your FAFSA Summary and review your SAI and financial information to determine your aid package. 

Evaluate Your Financial Aid Offers 

Financial aid offer letters will be issued directly from schools you listed on your. FAFSA application. Compare these offers and discuss them with your parent/guardian or a trusted adult to make the best decision for your education.  

Your financial aid letter will include: 

  • Total Cost of Attendance (COA): Estimated yearly college expenses. 
  • Student Aid Index (SAI): Calculated from your FAFSA to determine aid eligibility. 
  • Scholarships and Grants: Free money that doesn’t need to be repaid. 
  • Net Price: Cost of attendance minus scholarships and grants. 
  • Loans and Work-Study: Available federal loans and work-study options. 

Learn more about the different types of aid available by reading our guide on Exploring Financial Aid Options (link to Exploring Financial Aid Options). 

Didn’t Get Enough Financial Aid? Here’s What to Do

Request a change in circumstances from your college’s financial aid office. Here’s how: 

  • Know the Term: When you talk to your financial aid office, ask for a “change of circumstance.” 
  • Gather Documentation: Provide proof of any changes in your financial situation over the last two years. 
  • Initiate the Conversation: Contact your financial aid office to discuss your situation and request an adjustment. 

Finally, don’t worry! Check out free resources like SwiftStudent to help you write a financial aid appeal letter and further understand the financial aid appeal process. 

Making Your Decision

  • Financial Fit: Choose a school that offers a good financial fit, meaning you won’t be left with significant unmet needs or have to take out large loans. 
  • Create a Budget: Use your financial aid award letter to create a budget, considering all your expenses and the aid offered. 
  • Seek Advice: Talk to parents/guardians, trusted educators, and family members who attended college to get their perspectives. 

Understanding the steps after filling out the FAFSA will help you get the financial aid you need. If you have any questions, ask your school’s financial aid office. Comparing your financial aid offers and planning your finances wisely will help you succeed in college. Good luck, and congrats on taking this important step toward your education! 

Exploring Financial Aid Options: Your Path to Affording College

At IE Success, we know that figuring out your financial aid options can feel overwhelming, but it’s a crucial step in making college more affordable. Don’t worry, we’re here to help! This guide will walk you through various financial aid resources, showing you how to access and make the most of them effectively. 

Complete the FAFSA 

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is your gateway to federal grants, work-study, and loans. Submit your FAFSA as early as possible to maximize your aid potential. Those who file early often qualify for more grants and scholarships. 

Available Types of Financial Aid include: 


Scholarships are free money awarded based on financial need, academic merit, talent, or other criteria. The best part? They don’t need to be repaid. Search for Scholarships regularly and apply to as many as you qualify for. Scholarships can significantly reduce your out-of-pocket costs. Start by checking with your school to see what scholarships may be available.  

High school counselors often have information about local scholarships and can guide you through the application process. Additionally, colleges frequently offer their own scholarships, and their financial aid offices can provide details on how to apply. 

National scholarship resources:

  • Fastweb: One of the most comprehensive scholarship search platforms, providing personalized matches based on your student profile. 
  • Offers a wide range of scholarship opportunities and a user-friendly search tool. 
  • Get Schooled Scholarship Finder: A great tool for finding scholarships and tracking deadlines. 


Grants are typically need-based and also do not require repayment. Common grants include the federal Pell Grant and the Cal Grant, both of which you may qualify for. 

  • The Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan offers significant financial support to eligible California students. You don’t need to fill out a separate application to qualify; eligible students automatically receive the benefits. 

Work-Study Programs

Federal Work-Study programs provide part-time employment to help students earn money to pay for education expenses. These jobs are usually on campus and can provide flexible hours. Additionally, programs like the California Volunteers College Corps offer opportunities to earn money while serving your community. 


Loans are borrowed money that must be repaid with interest. 

  • Federal Student Loans: Funded by the federal government, these loans typically offer low interest rates and flexible repayment options. 
  • Private Loans: Offered by private organizations such as banks and financial institutions, these loans are generally more expensive and require a credit check. 

Remember, regardless of the loan type, borrow only what is necessary. 

Tips for Maximizing Financial Aid

Start Early: Begin your search and application process early to ensure you meet all deadlines. Pay close attention to application deadlines for FAFSA, scholarships, and grants. Missing deadlines can limit your financial aid opportunities. 

Stay Organized: Keep track of all applications and required documents. Use tools like the Get Schooled Scholarship Tracker and their Scholarship Finder to keep track of important dates and requirements. 

Seek Guidance: Utilize school counselors and online resources like Cash for College office hours to navigate the financial aid process. 

You’ve Got This!

Choosing the right financial aid options is a big step, but you’ve got this! Use the resources available to you, keep track of deadlines, and stay organized. Remember, it’s all about finding the best fit for you. Congratulations on taking these important steps toward your future. You’re well on your way to an amazing college experience. 

Inland Empire Success is your go-to resource for college admissions and financial aid in the IE. Explore our site for more helpful information, sign up for a workshop, watch a video, or read more articles. We’re here to help you succeed!