FAFSA Verification Process

When a student is selected for FAFSA verification, he or she will be required to submit any follow up documentation to the original FAFSA application in order to complete the process for receiving student aid.

The FAFSA verification process is not difficult and as long as the information on the FAFSA form was correct when submitted, then documentation should be easy to provide. The verification process itself is simply a way for colleges and universities to confirm a student’s data is correct.

Knowing what to do when a FAFSA verification form is sent is critical for a student to properly assess the next steps for his or her application. Applicants should understand how the verification process works and how they will know if they have been selected. To find out more information about the verification process for FAFSA, continue reading below.

What is the FAFSA verification process?

The FAFSA verification process will occur when a student is required to submit documentation supporting his or her FAFSA form. The federal government requires universities and colleges to verify FAFSA information and confirm that the application data that has been reported by the student or the parents is accurate. The purpose of the verification for FAFSA is to ensure that students who are eligible for federal aid receive as much assistance as they are entitled to, while simultaneously preventing ineligible students from receiving aid they are not entitled to.

Related Article: How to Complete the FAFSA Form

Students should understand that if they are selected for verification, it does not imply that they have done something wrong. Some students will be selected simply because the school verifies all incoming students, while others will be selected at random.

What type of FAFSA information will need verification?

Nearly 30 percent of all students filling FAFSA will be selected for verification. Schools will be required to select students for FAFSA verification to check the accuracy of the information that they provide on the application. Information that will need to be verified by independent and dependent students during the process will include:

  • Adjusted gross income
  • Paid taxes
  • Income earned through work
  • Specific untaxed income
  • Household size
  • Number of household students in college
  • Receipt of Food Stamps/SNAP benefits
  • Any inconsistent or conflicting information

The type of information that will need to be provided through verification of FAFSA will depend on whether or not a student is a dependent of his or her parents. When a student is dependent, then the parent’s information will likely be what is being verified. However, students who are independent will need to provide their own information and often not include a parent’s information.

How will a student know if he or she is selected for FAFSA verification?

Applications that are selected for review are either verified by the student’s chosen school or by a federal processor. Students who are selected for FAFSA verification by the federal processor can check on their Student Aid Report (SAR) to see if they have been selected. On the SAR, there will be an asterisk by the Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Additionally, a student will also be informed by receiving a FAFSA verification form in the mail which will be included within the SAR documents.

Students who are selected for verification of FAFSA by the school will receive a notification from the school along with his or her award letter. An email may also be sent by the school, depending on the way in which each school chooses to notify students. It is important to understand that students may be selected at any time during the academic school year, not just at the beginning of the first year.

What happens during FAFSA verification?

Students who are selected for verification will have a different set of requirements, depending on the school that issued the verification. For example, some schools may allow for the FAFSA verification to be completed online, while others may request documentation to be sent by mail. A student will need to assess which way the required paperwork is allowed to be submitted.

Regardless of how the verification of FAFSA occurs, there are certain variables that remain unchanged during the process. For instance, some of the documents that will need to be provided during the verification process for FAFSA include:

  • Student’s federal income tax transcript for the prior year to current aid year.
  • Any documentation showing dependency (if applicable).
  • Parents’ or spouse’s federal income tax transcript.
  • Any business income, investments and/or rental properties owned by the household.

A school may also have worksheets that can be completed by the student and submitted as part of the verification process. All of the information that will be required from the student will be requested by the school before federal aid is provided.

Tips for Completing the Verification of FAFSA

When a student receives a request for FAFSA verification, he or she must follow the steps outlined as thoroughly as possible. Any withheld or inconsistent information will only delay the process of receiving federal student aid. A student should make sure that all FAFSA verification forms are completed, with nothing left blank. All required signatures should be provided as requested, whether by the student or by the parents.

The FAFSA verification should be completed before the student aid disbursement is scheduled, so students should be aware of when payment for tuition is required by the school he or she wishes to attend. While there is no way to expedite a FAFSA verification form, a student should start the process of applying for FAFSA early in order to avoid any lengthy delays. There are peak processing times for FAFSA applications that can directly affect the time in which a verification is completed. Students who are required to submit additional documentation to their FASFA application should do so in a timely manner, which is why it is important to keep information on the FAFSA form as current as possible. If a student misses the notification in which he or she is requested for verification, then he or she will likely miss the opportunity to receive financial aid for the upcoming school year.

Related Article: FAFSA Deadlines

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