Federal Student Aid: Verification

Thumbnail of What is Verification?

Definition and Purpose

  1. Verification is a federally required and initiated process used to check the accuracy of the information that a student has given when applying for federal financial aid.
  2. Verification is used to ensure that the student is providing accurate information about his or her need for financial aid, since inaccurate information may result in the student receiving less (or more) money than they should.

Programs Covered

  1. Federal Pell grant and TEACH grant
  2. Federal Stafford loans;
  3. Campus-based programs:
    • federal work study
    • federal supplemental education opportunity grant (FSEOG)

Applicant Selections

The Department of Education has developed a series of manual and electronic edits used in need analysis to determine who is triggered for verification:

  • pre-established criteria based on the particular system's edits
  • error-phone modeling uses applicant characteristics to predict which applicants are likely to make errors
  • gross year comparison utilizes a comparison of past- and current-year information
  • independent student overrides
  • random selection
  • conflicting information in student's file
  • student with questionable income or asset information
  • students who originally choose not to consent to the direct data exchange of federal tax information on their FAFSA
  • students who make changes to information on their FAFSA.

Verification Process

Federal regulations have customized the verification process. Not all students selected for verification will be required to verify the same data. Our office will notify students which data must be verified.

  1. Students selected for verification are notified by the federal processor immediately upon submission of the FAFSA on the FAFSA submission summary, and by the financial aid office once FAFSA information has been received.
  2. Students will be instructed to send in specific materials to verify their information based on federal requirements. Some of these materials may include, but are not limited to, a verification form, a signed copy of federal tax returns including any schedules 1-6, W-2 wage statements and a statement of education purpose or verification of identity.
  3. Until all verification requirements are completed, no funds will be awarded nor disbursed to the student.

Students should note the deadline date for submitting verification materials on verification forms.