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Understanding FAFSA Verification: Maximizing Your Chances of Receiving Financial Aid

Understanding FAFSA Verification: Maximizing Your Chances of Receiving Financial Aid - College Financial Aid Advisors
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Why You Should Respond to Financial Aid Verification Requests Quickly

Throughout the college admissions and financial aid application season, one of the most worrying emails you can receive is a request for more information. But, I’m here to tell you that a request for extra documentation is not a reason to panic! You might see a note on your Student Aid Report saying you’ve been selected for verification, or your school might contact you to inform you that your application has been selected for review. This does not mean that your student’s application has any issues. Instead, it’s a chance for verification from the Department of Education or college so that they can make the best decision possible. Usually this indicates they don’t have all of the information they need.

Here is what to do if you receive a request for verification for your FAFSA:

Stay alert

Review your Student Aid Report, check your email, and visit college portals regularly to find out if your application has been selected for verification.

Don’t get upset

This is a normal part of the financial aid process. It does not indicate that anything is wrong or that you will not receive aid.

Understand what information is needed

Look closely at the request to be sure you understand exactly what type of documentation is required. If you do not understand, contact the financial aid office immediately for further clarification. Look for indicators as to what documents are acceptable to verify the particular area in question.

Respond quickly

Don’t let this set you off your financial aid timeline. Gather the information and submit it promptly. Some colleges might ask you to provide the information by a certain deadline.

FAFSA corrections

If you do realize that you made errors on your FAFSA, fix them before you send in your documentation. You can’t change everything, but correct the mistakes you can. If, and only if, you have been selected for verification, you must update certain household information.

CSS Profile Documentation Requests

Students who complete the CSS Profile may be asked to submit additional information through the Institutional Documentation Service (IDOC). IDOC allows you to submit your financial aid documents online, and the College Board then provides them to all of your IDOC schools automatically. It’s a super easy process!

Forms that might be required for IDOC include specific year tax returns, W-2 forms, and other financial aid documents for yourself and all of your parents. Parent documents are uploaded following the same process as the student. In some cases you’ll be required to print and sign a financial aid form.

Until you are notified, you cannot sign in to IDOC. After you’ve been notified, you can sign in to IDOC and view and upload the required documents. You can also track the submitted documents, too!

Verification during the financial application process can seem scary – but it’s not. It’s simply a way for the college financial aid offices and/or the Department of Education to confirm they have what they need for your financial aid decisions. Take the time to respond quickly and correctly to their requests so that you can keep the process moving! The simple act of completing their verification will help you qualify for the maximum amount of financial aid possible.

More about Jodi Okun of College Financial Aid Advisors

Jodi helps with the financial aid process, from completing the FAFSA and completing the CSS Profile to reviewing the SAR, responding to requests for verification, comparing financial aid offers and understanding student loan options. Schedule a 15 Minute Power Chat to learn more about finding ways to pay for college.

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