Guide to FAFSA Verification | The bank rate
FAFSA verification is used by schools to ensure that all personal and financial information on your FAFSA is correct. The US Department of Education selects approximately 18 percent of all tax filers for verification purposes and in many cases the selection is random. Read on to find out what to do if you are selected for verification.
What is FAFSA verification?
FAFSA Verification is a process of verifying that all of the information you entered on your FAFSA form is correct. Think of it as a double check process.
When you are selected for verification, you will see a notification on your Student Assistance Report (SAR) – the summary of the information you submitted to your FAFSA. Your school may also contact you to let you know that you have been selected for verification.
During the verification process, your college’s financial aid administrator will ask you to submit certain documents verifying the information you submitted on your FAFSA. They can request information such as W-2s or tax returns. If you refuse to submit the requested documents, you may be excluded from receiving federal student aid.
The FAFSA check is also the only time you can perform certain updates to your FAFSA. This is the only time you are allowed to update your household information, and you are required to do so if you are selected.
Why you might be selected for FAFSA verification
Getting selected for review doesn’t always happen because of the red flags on your app. Sometimes FAFSA filers are chosen for verification because of something questionable on their form, but they can also be selected at random. Some schools even choose to verify all applicants.
However, some registrants are chosen because of inconsistent information on their FAFSA form. In this case, the federal processor will review the parts of the FAFSA that are often wrong or report information that appears to be incorrect. If you complete your FAFSA using the IRS Data Recovery Tool (DRT), you are much less likely to be picked for verification, although you may be picked if you have changed any of the extracted information. using the IRS DRT.
Steps to follow if you are selected for FAFSA verification
If you are selected for FAFSA verification, do not delay the process. The sooner you submit all of the required information, the sooner you will receive your financial aid package.
- Check your verification requirements. The verification process may be different for each FAFSA registrant, depending on why you have been selected and the information to be verified. You should be provided with instructions to help you determine which form you need to complete and what documentation is required.
- Complete the verification sheet. If your school requires a checklist, download it and make sure you understand everything you need to complete it. If you have questions about the worksheet, contact your college financial aid officer for clarification.
- Correct your FAFSA if necessary. If you find an error on your original FAFSA, be sure to correct it, if possible. Not all errors can be updated, but qualifying errors on your FAFSA can be corrected online or in print. For FAFSA verification, you need to note whether your household has added or lost members.
- Submit your worksheet and all required forms. Once you’ve completed everything on your spreadsheet and required forms, you’re ready to submit for verification. Before submitting, check with your college to make sure you are submitting everything correctly and on time – if you miss a deadline, you could lose your eligibility for assistance.
- Track your help. In some cases, the verification process can impact the amount of aid you receive. If your available help is decreasing and you have already received money, you will need to repay any additional amount you have already received.
Frequently Asked Questions About FAFSA Verification
How long does the FAFSA verification process take?
Once all of your required documents are submitted for verification, the process should take around two to four weeks, depending on the college and the time of year. Your college will notify you when your financial aid package is ready.
Is FAFSA Verification Bad?
You may be selected for verification for various reasons. Some applicants are chosen at random, some schools choose to verify each FAFSA applicant, and some FAFSA forms are targeted for inaccurate or inconsistent information. Sometimes the FAFSA audit can result in the modification of a predetermined financial aid program, but this does not happen often.
What documents do you need for FAFSA verification?
The documents you need for FAFSA verification vary depending on the circumstances under which you were selected for verification. The most common documents required for verification are:
- Household verification form.
- Proof of child support that you may have paid or received.
- Documentation for the benefits of SNAP or food stamps.
- Copies of IRS or W-2 tax documents.
- Confirmation of tax non-declaration status.
- Documents clarifying inconsistent information about your FAFSA.
The financial aid officer has the right to ask for any documents they feel they need to verify your information, so you may also be asked for documents other than these.