Loans Student Loans Financial Aid You Were Selected for FAFSA Verification—What’s Next? Don’t let this part of the student aid process cause panic By Elyssa Kirkham Elyssa Kirkham Twitter Elyssa Kirkham is an expert on student loans and student loan issues. A personal finance journalist for nearly a decade, she covers consumer credit in addition to her specialization in education debt and financing. She holds a B.A. from Brigham Young University, Idaho. learn about our editorial policies Updated on April 27, 2022 Reviewed by Cierra Murry Reviewed by Cierra Murry Cierra Murry is an expert in banking, credit cards, investing, loans, mortgages, and real estate. She is a banking consultant, loan signing agent, and arbitrator with more than 15 years of experience in financial analysis, underwriting, loan documentation, loan review, banking compliance, and credit risk management. learn about our financial review board In This Article View All In This Article What Is FAFSA Verification? Why Was My FAFSA Selected? FAFSA Verification Steps How Verification Can Affect Your Student Aid Photo: EMS-Forster-Productions / Getty Images You’ve submitted your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and you’re glad that’s over with. But then you’re selected for FAFSA verification. If you’re asked to verify your FAFSA, don’t worry. It’s a common extra step in the student aid application process. Many students are selected for verification at random, and some colleges have a practice of verifying FAFSA data for all students. Here’s what to expect if your FAFSA is selected for verification and some tips to navigate the process. What Is FAFSA Verification? In short, your college does a verification to double-check the accuracy of the information you provided in your FAFSA. Once you’ve received notification that your FAFSA has been selected, you’ll be asked to provide additional documentation. Your college will review this information to complete the verification process. Why Was My FAFSA Selected? You’ll usually get notified that your FAFSA was selected for verification in one of two ways. Either your college will notify you, or you’ll learn from your Student Aid Report, which comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid (FSA) office after you submit the FAFSA. Being selected for FAFSA verification doesn’t mean you did anything wrong or have a reason to be concerned. Still, certain factors increase the chance you’ll be selected for verification. For one, you won’t be selected for verification unless you qualify for need-based federal aid, such as a Pell Grant or subsidized loan, so that automatically narrows the pool of potential candidates. Listing an income of $0 on the FAFSA can also get you flagged for verification since your income is an important part of how your student aid is calculated. Note Students who qualify only for unsubsidized aid, like TEACH Grants or unsubsidized loans, are not required to verify. FAFSA Verification Steps Verifying your FAFSA information is straightforward, and you can follow these steps to do so. Be Proactive and Organized Don’t put off the FAFSA verification process—take action right away. Respond to all communications from your college. The financial aid office may offer additional help or resources, such as FAFSA verification workshops or guides, to walk you through the process. Pay attention to all communications you get from your college or the FSA office, and keep records to ensure you’re properly following instructions. Your college is required to inform you about the process, including how long you have to submit documents and what might happen if you don’t meet that deadline. Gather Requested Documentation Next, your college will tell you what’s needed. Here are the types of information you can be asked to verify: Adjusted gross income U.S. income tax paid Education credits Untaxed IRA distributions Untaxed pensions IRA deductions and payments Tax-exempt interest Income earned from work Household size and number of people in college High school completion status Your identity and purpose for seeking financial aid The documentation you’ll need will depend on your college’s procedures. Many schools will have you complete and submit their own verification worksheets as part of the process. Some types of information, such as proving the number of enrolled college students in your household, require only a signed statement attesting to it. Other items might require more official proof. If you’re asked to verify your income or tax information, for example, you might provide a tax return. Or, to prove you graduated high school, you might need to provide your diploma or transcript. Note The FAFSA provides an option to import income and tax information with its IRS Data Retrieval Tool rather than entering it manually. It’s faster and can reduce the chance of errors on your FAFSA when you’re completing or verifying the application. Submit by the Deadline The final step is to submit everything on time, first making sure the documentation is error-free. You (or your parents, if they provided the documents) will also need to sign each piece of documentation to certify it. How Verification Can Affect Your Student Aid When erroneous or outdated information is found in the verification process, it is corrected. If the errors are in FAFSA data that determined your financial need, your college will recalculate and adjust your student aid package accordingly. If student aid was already paid out to you and it’s determined that you no longer qualify, your future disbursement might be smaller to compensate. In some cases, you might even need to repay the money that you got from federal aid. Note While it’s less common, some students might actually benefit from the FAFSA verification process. A correction could increase the amount of student aid for which they qualify. Whatever your situation, it’s important to review any changes to your student aid eligibility. Your financial aid office can walk through your updated financial aid package to help you fully understand what’s different and what options and obligations you have moving forward. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Tell us why! Other Submit Sources The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Federal Student Aid. "Application and Verification Guide."