FAFSA Verification – Don’t Delay Your Financial Aid!
You completed the FAFSA, you received the Student Aid Report (SAR), now what? Many students aren’t aware but one out of three students will be selected for verification. To ensure that the information provided by students and parents on the FAFSA is accurate, the U.S. Department of Education requires institutions to verify financial and other demographic information.
If you are selected for verification, submit the requested documents ASAP! Sometimes, it can take up to four weeks to process verification paperwork, due to the abundance of students submitting verification paperwork, especially in the beginning of each semester.
If you were selected for verification, the process HAS to be completed before you can receive your financial aid award offer or letter. Most financial aid offices correspond via email (the email you provided on the FAFSA) – so make sure you check your email on a daily or at least a weekly basis. Aside from receiving notification from the financial aid office that you were selected for verification, you can check your SAR; if you have an asterisk (*) next to the EFC on your SAR, your FAFSA was selected for verification.
- The documents that are usually requested are the tax transcripts of the tax information used on the FAFSA. Remember, the financial information used on the FAFSA is the prior-prior year.
- If you enter your financial information manually on the FAFSA, the chances of being selected are higher. If possible, use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool – it links the application to the IRS database for the financial information.
- Correct errors on your FAFSA as soon as you find them. Keep in mind you can’t make corrections until at least 1-3 business days after you submit your FAFSA. So, double-check your FAFSA before submitting it.
- If you or your family’s income has changed drastically from the tax information being used on the FAFSA, contact your institution’s financial aid office and let them know – most schools have ways to address this predicament.
- As I mentioned before, if you were selected for verification, submit the requested documents ASAP! It’s worth mentioning twice because I have assisted many students who waited until the start of the semester to submit their verification paperwork. This can result in funds being disbursed weeks after the start of the semester – and after the payment deadline, which can mean having to pay late fees.
If you’re not sure where to start or how to begin the process (if you were selected for verification), contact your school’s financial aid office.
If you would like more information about financial aid, feel free to contact the ACPE Success Center at 907-269-7980 or ACPESuccessCenter@alaska.gov.
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