What is Verification?
Verification is a review process in which the Financial Aid Office determines the accuracy of the information provided by the student and parent (if applicable) on the student's financial aid application. The federal government requires schools to collect documentation, from the student and parent (if applicable), to check the accuracy of the financial aid application. If selected, the verification process must be completed before financial aid can be awarded.
You may be selected for verification because:
- Your FAFSA was randomly selected by The Department of Education
- The FAFSA you submitted was incomplete
- The FAFSA submitted contains estimated information
- The data you provided on the FAFSA is inconsistent
Federal law requires completion of verification. If selected, the verification process must be completed for a student to receive federal, state, and institutional aid, including student loans.
How will I know if have been selected for verification?
If your FAFSA is selected for verification the Financial Aid Office will send the required verification worksheet to your email for you to complete electronically. The verification worksheet will have the required information listed that you must provide to complete the verification process. Additionally, the Financial Aid Office will notify the student through text message when the worksheet has been sent.
If your FAFSA is selected for verification after you have been awarded, you have 45 days to complete verification. If the process is not complete within the 45-day window, your aid may be cancelled, which may result in a balance owed on your account. The verification process can be lengthy so please plan to complete your FAFSA and the verification process early.
What do I have to submit to complete verification?
Documentation that may be requested to complete verification includes but is not limited to:
- Signed and dated copy of yours, and your spouse's IRS Tax Return (Form 1040 and Schedules 1, 2, & 3)
- W2 forms or IRS wage and income statement for: you, and your spouse
- Signed and dated copy of your parent(s) IRS Tax Return (Form 1040 and Schedules 1, 2, & 3) (if you are a dependent student)
- W2 forms or IRS wage and income statement for your parent(s) (if you are a dependent student)
- An IRS verification letter of non-filing for you and/or your spouse
- An IRS verification letter of non-filing for your parent(s) (if you are a dependent student)
- Proof of U.S. citizenship
- Copy of permanent resident card (front and back)
- Proof of registration with Selective Service
- Copy of Social Security card
- Copy Birth Certificate
- Copy of Marriage Certificate
- Copy of Divorce Decree
In some instances, once the verification worksheet and documentation have been received and reviewed you may be asked to provide additional documentation. If this occurs, please provide the requested documentation as soon as possible. It is the student's responsibility to check their requirements and submit all documentation to the Financial Aid Office in a timely manner. Do not wait to submit your documents as it can delay your financial aid eligibility.
What happens after I submit my verification documents?
Once you submit your documents, it is important to check your email or text messages from the school for additional document requests. If a document you submitted is incomplete or incorrect, you will receive an email explaining the action that needs to be taken. It is possible that the financial aid office may ask you to submit additional documentation. It is important to continue to monitor your email and text messages from the school until the financial aid process is complete. It is also important to submit your documents as early as possible. The entire verification process can take up to 2 weeks to complete. This process could take longer during peak processing times, so please plan to complete your verification early.
Important Tips for Verification
Begin the process early
Submit your documents as soon as possible. The verification process can be lengthy for some students. Completing verification is required before aid can be determined.
Avoid providing conflicting information
Reporting conflicting information on your FAFSA may increase your chances of being selected for verification. Make sure you provide complete and correct information on your FAFSA.
- Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool within the FAFSA to transfer your and your parent’s tax info directly into the FAFSA.
- Double-check your or your parent's (if dependent) social security numbers
- If you, your spouse (if married), or parents (if dependent) worked in the year being requested, make sure you list all income, earnings, and wages.
- Include any untaxed income and additional financial information. This is especially important when you list zero income.
- Make sure your parents sign the FAFSA (if dependent).
- Once you submit your FAFSA minimize making changes, as this could cause your application to be selected for verification.
Use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool
If you qualify to transfer your tax information directly into the FAFSA you may not need to provide tax documents to the college.