How Long Does It Take for FAFSA to Process?

Last Updated on October 9, 2023 by Lori Pace

As a single mom, you must juggle extra expenses that most college students typically have to consider. Because of this, many single mothers need financial aid to help them go to college, and applying for Federal Student Aid is one way. The FAFSA has helped plenty of single mothers pay for their college tuition. But, how long does it take for FAFSA to process, you may wonder?

How Long Does It Take For FAFSA to Process?

The school will review your FAFSA data and prepare a financial aid package if the school accepts you. This document will list the grants, loans, scholarships, work-study funding, and other aid that you can receive. We also have another article with a detailed process about what happens after you submitted your FAFSA form.

These forms take different amounts of time depending on the program. You will typically receive a letter with financial aid awards shortly after receiving your acceptance letter. If there is any mistake during the application, you can correct your FAFSA but under some strict situations and conditions.

The U.S. Department of Education will process your online Free Application for Federal Student Aid form (FAFSA(r).) within three to five business days. Processing of applications on a paper FAFSA Form takes seven to ten working days.

After the processing of your application, they will send you a copy of your Student Aid Report (SAR). This summarizes all the information that you have provided in your FAFSA. Make sure you review your Student Aid Report (SAR) and verify that all information is correct.

Your SAR will include Your Expected Family Contribution. The EFC determines your eligibility for Federal Pell Grant. Colleges use the EFC for eligibility assessment for federal and nonfederal student aid.

How Long Does It Take For Fafsa To Process 1

After your FAFSA application is received by ED

The colleges you have on the list of your FAFSA will receive your SAR. Your award package will be created and financial aid disbursed by the colleges that you have listed. It is not enough to list a college on your FAFSA forms. Most colleges don’t create award packages for everyone who lists it on a FAFSA.

To find out more about how to apply for financial aid at your college, contact the financial aid department at the college.

How to Check if Your Updates on FAFSA(r) Process

You can immediately check the status of your FAFSA online once you have submitted it. The students are the only ones capable of checking the status. Here’s how:

Log in to with your FSA ID username and password.

Your application status will be one of these.

  • Processing: The process typically takes between three and five days. In addition, it takes one additional business day to make the application available to the schools in the form.
  • Processing Successfully: The processing of the application was successful. You don’t have anything else to do.
  • You are missing signatures: You must take immediate action. For further assistance, contact your school.

You can verify the status of a FAFSA paper form after its processing (roughly 7-10 business days from the date you mailed it). Contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center for information about the processing of your FAFSA application.

Learn the full impact of your FAFSA(r)

Your FAFSA helps you apply for federal student aid but financial assistance also uses this to determine your eligibility for financial aid from certain schools and states.

The colleges and/or careers schools that you have listed on your FAFSA application will receive your information. Your information is used by the financial aid office of a school to determine how much aid you might receive at that school.

Not all schools offer school aid. Check with the financial aid office for additional forms. Your information is also sent to the state higher education agency and to the agencies in the states where you have chosen schools. FAFSA information is used by many states to determine which financial aid funds they will provide.

Lori Pace
Lori Pace

Lori Pace is a single mother of three daughters ages 7 and under. As a working mom from home, she balances kids, work and two crazy dogs with humor and love. Follow Lori as she honestly gives tips and advice based on her own experiences as a single mom!