What You Need to Know About Verification

Be sure to respond to FAFSA quickly to hold on to your aid money
Financial Aid Award Letters

Being selected for FAFSA verification is a normal part of the process. 

  • Sometimes students are selected for something called “verification.” This is very common. If you are selected, you need to submit additional documents or information to the financial aid office at the college that confirms what you wrote on your FAFSA.
  • Completing this process will ensure you receive all the potential financial aid you are eligible for and that you get your financial aid on time.

You may need to complete “verification” for multiple colleges

  • You may be selected for verification at multiple colleges. If this happens, you will need to submit documents or information to all of those colleges’ financial aid offices completely separately.
  • For example, if Deja was selected for verification at Eastern Illinois University and Boston College, she will need to complete two entirely separate verification processes. One will be for Eastern Illinois University and one for Boston College. The forms required by both universities may be similar or may be slightly different, so she will have to make sure she submits the correct ones for each university.

Be on the lookout for messages from colleges

  • After you complete your FAFSA, you can access something called your “student aid report.” In this report, look for the place where it shows your “EFC.” If there is an asterisk, then you have been selected for verification and you will be asked by colleges to submit additional documents.
  • Colleges may reach out to you through their online portal, college email, or personal email to tell you what information or documents you need to submit. Be sure to check each of these at least once a week.
  • Not all colleges will call it verification. They may just say you are “missing documents.”
  • Not seeing anything from colleges? Call the financial aid offices. Don’t know the phone number? You can usually find the number by searching the college name and financial aid office on Google. 
  • Here is a script for what to say:
    • “Hi, my name is _________. I am a senior in high school and I was accepted at your college. I want to make sure I complete everything to receive financial aid on time. How will I be notified if I have been selected for verification? When will I be notified?”

Follow the instructions the college provides

Colleges may ask for different information and documents, such as:

  • Tax return transcripts
  • Siblings’ college registration forms
  • Proof of income
  • SNAP membership card, etc.

Tip: No matter what documents the schools ask for, they should provide all the information and instructions you need.

Completing verification late could impact your financial aid

  • Colleges award financial aid to students that are eligible and that money may run out. If you don’t complete verification in time, you might miss out on getting as much financial aid as you could have.

Verification must be complete to accurately estimate financial aid

This point is important so let’s break it down: 

  • After you have been accepted to a college, they will give you a statement of how much you will receive in financial aid from them. This is called an award letter. 
    • The award letter is the most important document the college will send in order for you to calculate if the college is affordable or completely unaffordable.
  • If you are selected for verification, your financial aid statement will only be an estimate until you submit all of your verification documents.

Tip: The total amount of financial aid you are getting may change after you submit your verification documents.

  • We strongly recommend that you submit all of your required verification documents for the colleges you are considering before you decide where to enroll. 
  • When you are comparing colleges to decide which offer you want to accept, you need an accurate statement of financial aid from every college you are considering.

If you don’t complete verification you will not get any financial aid

  • If you don’t complete the verification process, you will not get any financial aid. Depending on your state and other factors, this could mean missing out on thousands of dollars to pay for college. 
  • Many colleges do not allow you to register for classes until your first tuition bill is paid. This means that if you are waiting on financial aid to cover your first bill, you might not be able to register for your classes on time.
  • Even if your college does allow you to register for your classes before receiving your financial aid, you may not be able to afford textbooks and other educational expenses until you receive your financial aid check.

Every school may have a different verification process. Verification takes work but it is an important step on the way to college. The earlier you complete verification, the less stress and worry you will have later on.