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What to do if Your FAFSA is Selected for Verification

Last updated November 1, 2023

If your FAFSA was selected for verification, don't panic! Being selected for verification does not mean you are suspected of doing something wrong. There are a variety of different reasons someone's FAFSA could be flagged for verification. Here's what you need to know if this happens to you and how to proceed!

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What is FAFSA verification?

The US Department of Education oversees the FAFSA process. One part of that process is called verification. Verification is the process that the Department of Education and your college use to confirm that the income information reported on your FAFSA was accurate.

Why do people get selected for verification?

There are a variety of reasons students have their FAFSA flagged for verification, including random selection, applying to a college that verifies all students, to protect against identity theft, or most commonly, there was a mistake on your FAFSA that needs clarification. It’s important to remember that being flagged for verification doesn’t mean that you did anything wrong! Verification is a step toward ensuring you’re reporting the most accurate information on your FAFSA to receive the most financial aid possible.

Overall, there are five main items that are requested through a verification process:

1. Tax and financial information.

2. Household size and/or proof that someone else from your household is enrolled in college.

3. Receipt of SNAP benefits.

4. Receipt of child support.

5. High school completion status.

A young woman sits in front of an open computer. With her arms outstretched, she looks down at her screen - What to do if Your FAFSA is Selected for Verification

How to complete FAFSA verification

The Department of Education and your college will provide you with instructions on what documents you’ll need to submit. Usually, you will be asked to submit one or more of the following: a verification worksheet, tax information (IRS Tax Return Transcript can be requested through the IRS website), or a verification of a non-filing letter from the IRS if you are an independent student who did not file a federal tax return. Remember that they will tell you exactly what information and forms you need to collect, and if you have any questions, the financial aid office at your college is there to help.

How long do I have to fix a verification flag?

The time when you are asked to submit additional documents for verification will vary based on the college and/or the reason for verification. Be sure to keep track of deadlines, which will be clearly stated on your notice of verification, since a college won’t be able to offer you financial aid if you miss their deadline! If you are struggling to find requested information and might miss the deadline, contact the financial aid office ahead of time to request an extension. Keep in mind that an extension may not be guaranteed, but it’s still worth it to ask anyway. After the financial aid office reviews the documents you submitted and verification is complete, be sure to check your financial aid package to see if there are any changes as a result of verification. The most important tip here is to be proactive! As soon as you see that you need to provide additional information, be sure to talk to the contributors on your FAFSA to address the issue as soon as possible.

Have any questions about the FAFSA or FAFSA verification? Text #FAFSA to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!

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