SAR and EFC - Iowa College Access Network - ICAN



The U.S. Department of Education creates a Student Aid Report (SAR) to summarize the information you provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

You should get your SAR about two weeks after filing the FAFSA. Spend some time looking over the information to make sure it's right. 

Mistakes on Your SAR

If you find a mistake on your SAR, you can change the SAR and mail it back to the address provided, or you can go to's FAFSA Follow-up section to make changes using your PIN.


EFC stands for Expected Family Contribution. Your EFC is based on the information you give on the FAFSA about your family income and assets, family size and number of students in college. Colleges subtract your EFC from the cost of attendance to decide how much financial aid you can receive.

This chart shows how three colleges might assess a student's financial need.

  College A College B College C
Cost of Attendance (COA) $40,000 $21,000 $10,000
– Expected Family Contribution (EFC) (14,000) (14,000) (10,000)
= Financial Need $26,000 $7,000 $0


The government chooses one out of every three FAFSA applications for verification. If your application is chosen, don't panic. You simply need to send in the paperwork that the school asks for (usually copies of signed tax returns, completed verification worksheets and additional documentation). Do it as soon as possible so your financial aid can be processed. No aid can be disbursed until verification is complete.

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