Verification is a process used to confirm that the information you provided on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is correct.
Who selects student for verification and why?
The U.S. Department of Education selects students for verification based on a number of undisclosed factors, including random selection. The purpose of verification is to make sure that the data on the FAFSA used to calculate eligibility are correct. It does not mean that you have done anything wrong; it just means that the government would like to double-check the information you provided.
Cuesta College financial aid technicians may also select students if they find conflicting or missing information in their application data.
The Verification Process
In order to confirm the information on the FAFSA, we will ask you to provide specific types of documentation that supports your entries. This documentation may include tax information, personal statements, benefits summaries, and other information necessary to calculate your financial need properly. If you are a dependent student, we may also request these kinds of information from your parents.
Once we confirm your FAFSA data is correct, we will finish awarding and packaging your file. If we find differences between the data on your FAFSA and the documentation you provide, we will use the latter to make corrections to your FAFSA. Once the federal government has received and processed those corrections, we will finish awarding and packaging your file.
Note: occasionally students may be selected for verification by the Department after they have already been paid financial aid. If that happens, we will give you 30 days to provide documentation, otherwise you will be responsible for returning all Title IV financial aid you received to the government.
The verification review process can be lengthy, so we recommend that students submit all requested documentation within 14 days of our request. You can submit most materials online.
By regulation, you must submit all verification documents by the earlier of:
- 120 days after your last date of enrollment for the award year in question; or
- The annual deadline published in the Federal Register—usually a date in late September.
However, please note:
- Because other program-specific and cash management rules apply, meeting the deadlines above does not guarantee that your awards can be processed. For example, we cannot originate student loans after a student’s last date of enrollment regardless of when they submit their verification documentation.
- Submitting your verification documentation before the school year starts or while you are still enrolled will generally have better results.
- Unlike verification documents, all professional judgment appeals (e.g. dependency override, EFC adjustment, cost of attendance adjustment, unusual enrollment, etc.) must be turned in by the last day of your enrollment.
- Unlike verification documents, SAP appeals must be submitted by the last day of the term for which you are appealing.