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Help! I Have Been Selected for Financial Aid Verification

verificationAh.. the dreaded “V” word. It is a term that you don’t like to hear when going through the financial aid process but the unfortunate truth is that about one third of all families completing the FAFSA are randomly selected for verification. If you happen to complete something wrong on the FAFSA, it WILL increase your chances of being selected for verification. In addition, if a financial aid officer thinks your information is not quite up to snuff, they can flag your file to be channeled through the verification process…so always be nice to the financial aid folk! 😉

The most simplistic definition that I can provide for the verification process is that it is the Department of Education’s systematic approach for auditing the information that you submitted on the FAFSA. Don’t let it scare you though… I have heard some families compare it to an IRS audit but I can assure you that the verification process is much easier and will only consume about an hour of your time (that is including a restroom break and a short snack).

If you have been selected for verification, you will need to complete a worksheet provided by the Department of Education and submit it, along with appropriate documentation, to the financial aid office at your college. You can download a copy of the most current verification worksheet here.

The verification worksheet is going to prompt you for the following information:

  • Student Information- Name, Social Security Number, Date of Birth, etc…
  • Family Information- Name and relationship of everyone living in your parent’s household and even other children that may not live in the household but your parent’s provide more than half of their support
  • Student Tax Information- Copy of tax return (as applicable) or amounts and sources of taxable income, dollar amount and sources of untaxed income
  • Parent Tax Information- Copy of tax return (as applicable) or amounts and sources of taxable income, dollar amount and sources of untaxed income
  • Signature from the Student and a Parent– very important and easily overlooked

Once you have this worksheet completed (and have made a copy for your records), you will submit it to the school with any supporting documentation requested by the financial aid office. The financial aid administrator will compare the information you provided with the information submitted on your FAFSA. If everything checks out, you are good to go. If you forgot something, the school will contact you to let you know that they are missing some information. (You should follow-up to their request ASAP). If the information on your verification worksheet is different than what you put on your FAFSA, the financial aid administrator is required to go in and update your Student Aid Report (SAR). Which could impact (good or bad) the amount of financial aid you receive…

The important thing to remember through the verification process is that you don’t let grass grow under your feet. If you are selected for verification, you need to get the appropriate worksheet completed right away (see link above) and follow-up with the school to make sure there is nothing else required from you. The reason for this urgency is that you will not be eligible to receive any need-based financial aid until the verification process is complete.

Hope this information is helpful. If you think others could benefit from this, please feel free to use the “Share Tab” below to pass it along.

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One Response to “Help! I Have Been Selected for Financial Aid Verification”

  1. Tatiana says:

    I am currently undergoing a verification audit through Purdue Global and these websites are incorrect. It is exactly like an audit from the IRS or potentially worse. The amount of information requested has recently made me reconsider a lot of things. They have combed through every morsel of my income down to $200 of an old 401k. This has been the most extreme audit that I have ever been through and I have cried over it. I would not wish this process on anyone. Also, I used the IRS data retrieval tool.


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