After the FAFSA

By: Jacob Newman, UHEAA

After you’ve filed your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), there are important steps to follow. The college or university that you are attending might contact your through your student portal or your email, so be sure to check both frequently. Following these steps will ensure that you are prepared for your college costs.


Find scholarships.

Look local to find scholarships to help pay for college costs. Check with your bank, local non-profits, and other resources in your community to find scholarships. These scholarships have fewer applicants than many national scholarships do. Many colleges have scholarships just for their students, so make sure to search for them if you have decided on a major. Some scholarships are listed on the colleges’ financial aid website, and some are listed on the specific college department page.

  • Once you find scholarships, apply for them by the deadline.
  • You can also search for scholarships here and be sure to use Google to find scholarships.
  • Remember to never pay to apply for any scholarship.


Follow up on your FAFSA.

After you’ve filed your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), your college will receive your FAFSA information in about 4-6 weeks. Here are some steps that could come next.

  • You might need to log back in to your FAFSA using your FSA ID to make any additional updates or changes to your FAFSA. You’ll get an email letting you know if you’ll need to do this.
  • Once the colleges have everything they need from you, they’ll put together a financial aid award letter which tells you what types of financial aid they can offer you such as grants, work-study, federal student loans, and some scholarships. This award letter is often provided through the student portal at the college or university that you are attending.
  • Remember that you do not need to accept the full amount of the loans that you are offered. Borrow only what you need!


Be proactive.

If you’ve not heard from the financial aid office in a while, call or email them. It might be good schedule an appointment with a financial aid advisor to make sure they have everything they need from you.

You might be selected for a process known as verification. The financial aid office uses this process to confirm some of the information that you put on your FAFSA, like financial information or household size. This process often requires you to provide follow-up documentation to the financial aid office at your college or university. The financial aid office will tell you what kinds of documents that they need from you. Follow their instructions early to make sure there are no delays in receiving your financial aid!