So your student’s Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) has already been completed and submitted. Now one or more of the colleges to which that FAFSA’s data were sent tells your student it needs to verify those data. Why are they doing this and what needs to be done?
Verification is used to confirm your student’s FAFSA. It’s needed because students sometimes make mistakes when completing FAFSA’s. So do parents whose children are dependent students. It’s also needed because, unfortunately, some families deliberately provide false information to rip off the system.
The U.S. Department of Education processes FAFSAs, and it selects them for verification — some because they likely have incorrect data, others at random. Colleges may also use their own methods to select FAFSAs for verification.
Being selected doesn’t mean anyone thinks you or your student did anything wrong. In fact, colleges may even release financial aid to students before verification is completed. But because they must repay any aid released for which students aren’t eligible, almost no schools do this.
And because there’s never enough money to cover the full financial need of all their students, most colleges won’t even award aid until verification is finished and they know exactly how much need your student has.
So your student (and you, if you too completed the FAFSA) must react quickly to any notice received about verification. Delaying may cause your student to miss out on grants and scholarships because the funds for those awards are all committed by the time verification gets done.
This notice will come to your student by email or regular mail. It’ll provide the key facts:
- What FAFSA data need to be verified;
- Acceptable documentation for verifying those data; and
- Where to deliver that documentation, by when, and what happens if it’s late.
Once the college completes verification, it’ll tell your student:
- Any corrections that are necessary; and
- What it and/or he or she must do to correct those FAFSA data.
So watch out for verification notices, react to them quickly, and to follow their instructions to the letter. Otherwise, your student may lose grant and scholarship aid, making it much more difficult to afford college without extra borrowing!
College Affordability Solutions can advise you on all parts of the financial aid process, including verification. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (512) 417-7660 for assistance.