FAFSA Verification is a process completed by Financial Aid Office at Catawba, who are required by the Department of Education to confirm that the information listed on your FAFSA is correct. Students are most often chosen by a random process, but sometimes are chosen because the information on their FAFSA is estimated or may have inconsistent information.
To find out if your FAFSA was selected for verification, read any messages on your FAFSA Student Aid or SAR. You can access your SAR by logging into www.fafsa.gov. After you receive notification that you have been selected for verification, you should first read any messages from the Department of Education appearing on your Student Aid Report. Next, you should submit copies of documents that the Financial Aid Office requests. These documents may include but are not limited to:
- Verification Worksheet
- IRS Tax Return Transcript (NOTE: If you use the IRS Data Retrieval option when completing the FAFSA and make no changes to the tax information, a tax return transcript may not be required. If the IRS Data Retrieval feature is not available for any reason, we encourage you to download and submit a copy of your IRS Tax Return Transcript via www.irs.gov.)
- Statement of Identity & Educational Purpose
- Marriage Certificate
- Social Security Card
- Alien Registration Card
- Other supporting documentation
The type of documents required will vary from student to student, and not all students selected for FAFSA verification will have to submit the same documents. You do not need to turn in any documentation that was not requested.
What happens if there are discrepancies in the FAFSA application?
After you turn in all required documents, Catawba's Financial Aid Office will compare them with your FAFSA. If errors are found, corrections will be made. If the errors are significant enough to change the amount of financial aid that you were awarded, the Financial Aid Office will send you a revised award notification showing increased or decreased amounts. If you are selected for FAFSA verification, you need to return the information and requested documentation as soon as possible. Processing usually takes two to three weeks, or possibly longer during the peak season (late Spring and Summer). Because verification must be completed in advance of disbursing any money from any financial aid program, it is vital to send complete and correct information as quickly as possible. Above all else, don't be upset because you were selected for verification. This is a process that is required by the federal government. The Financial Aid Office may even discover errors in your report that could actually increase your eligibility for more aid.
Why is FAFSA Verification Important?
The verification process is extremely important because any federal and state related financial aid will NOT disburse to your student account until verification is complete. Also, all financial aid awards and billing statements are tentative until verification is complete.