- In some cases, you will need to verify the information you submitted on your FAFSA, such as tax returns.
- Don’t be afraid if you find out that you need to verify information. It doesn’t mean you did anything wrong.
- If you have made any errors on your FAFSA, correct them before submitting your documentation.
- Learn more about Insider’s student loan coverage here.
To find out what financial aid you can receive for college, complete the Free Federal Student Aid Application, commonly known as FAFSA. The FAFSA determines your eligibility for scholarships, work-study programs, and loans. To complete it, you will need to enter information about your family’s bank accounts, investments, and previous tax returns.
Dishonestly answering questions about the FAFSA in an attempt to get more money is not a good idea. If your information is verified by the Ministry of Education and it turns out that you lied, you could face jail time and / or a heavy fine, and you will have to repay any financial assistance you have received.
Which FAFSAs are selected for verification?
Part of the FAFSA will be selected for verification; around one in four senior applicants were selected for verification during the 2019-2020 aid cycle, according to the National School Success Network. Data shows that students eligible for Pell scholarships are the most likely to be chosen, along with low-income students, although it’s not clear why this is the case.
Verification for some applications can be chosen at random, and others can be chosen to clarify any inconsistencies. Your school can also verify each FAFSA it receives.
Students flagged for verification will be required to provide documentation proving that your information is correct. This can include gross income, taxes paid, and household size. If you fail to complete the verification process, you will not receive federal financial assistance.
A good way to reduce the likelihood that your application will be requested for this process is to use the IRS Data Recovery Tool when you complete your FAFSA. This tool directly transfers information from your tax returns to your FAFSA and is considered already verified.
What if you need to verify your information?
Don’t worry if the DOE contacts you to verify your information. This is a common part of the FAFSA process and doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong.
You must respond to the verification notice as quickly as possible. Monitor your email address to see if you need to provide more information to verify your request. You may also receive mail from the college you applied to, or it may appear on your student aid report, which is a summary of your FAFSA information. The timelines for submitting this verification vary by institution, so check with your college when they need your answers and make sure you meet the deadline.
If you’ve made any mistakes – which is normal, it happens – correct them before submitting your documentation. The easiest way to do this is through the FAFSA’s online portal, and you should notify your school’s financial aid office of any errors, as they may be able to advise you further.
Your help kit may change as a result of the verification process. If you suddenly need more money to cover the cost of your education, consider applying for a scholarship. Stock exchanges offer money that does not need to be repaid. Loans are another option, but they are less desirable because you will have to cover the balance plus interest.