Verification is the process used by the Department of Education to ensure the information provided on a FAFSA® is accurate. In most cases, students are selected for verification at random, although some students may be asked to verify information that is seemingly incongruous with other parts of their application.
How Do I Know If I’m Selected for Verification?
Two entities have the authority to flag an application for verification: the Department of Education, and your school’s financial aid office.
If the Department of Education is requesting verification of your FAFSA®, they’ll include a formal notice with your Student Aid Report. You will also see an asterisk next to your Expected Family Contribution score.
If the verification came from your school’s financial aid office, they will contact you directly with their request. The request could come to your email address or student portal, so be sure to keep an eye out for all communications.
Why was I selected for verification?
Most of the time, a student is selected for verification at random. In other cases, a student’s application may be flagged due to inconsistencies in the application, or because certain information needs to be updated.
Being selected for verification doesn’t mean you did something wrong. It’s simply the Department of Education’s process of maintaining the integrity of the Federal Student Aid program. Between 15-40% of students are selected for verification every year.
What Happens During Verification?
Verification isn’t something to be afraid of – instead, it’s exactly what it sounds like. All you’re being asked to do is provide evidence that the information you submitted on your FAFSA® is accurate.
In most cases, students are asked to provide some or all of the following:
- Copies of tax transcripts and financial statements
- Updated tax information (if you used an estimate to file)
- Signed statements pertaining to personal information (such as family size)
- Proof of college enrollment for other members of your family
You’ll be given a detailed list when notified of the verification request. As long as you entered accurate information on your FAFSA®, there’s nothing to be worried about.
FAFSA® verification worksheet
In addition to any requested documentation, you’ll be asked to fill out your school’s FAFSA® verification worksheet. The verification worksheet will ask you to confirm the information already provided on your FAFSA®, and for some more details about your family members and employment.
What to Remember About Verification
If you’ve been selected for verification, you must complete the process before receiving financial aid. You will not receive your financial aid offer letter until all documentation has been submitted and processed.
While tedious, verification is not intended as a punishment. The aim is to ensure that students are entering accurate information on their FAFSA®s so the appropriate aid is awarded to the right students.