- I was notified that I’ve been selected for FAFSA verification. What does this mean?
When you submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you have a 35% chance of being selected for verification. This means the U.S. Department of Education has selected you, at random, to confirm the information you reported on your FAFSA application is correct. As part of the verification process, you will need to submit supporting documents, such as Tax Return Transcripts (IRS report of the 1040), W2s/1099s, financial statements and any other documents our Financial Aid Office may need to confirm the information you reported on your FAFSA is correct.
- What happens if any of the information I originally provided is incorrect or erroneous?
If what you reported is different from what your documents say, our Financial Aid Office will revise your FAFSA and submit these corrections to the Department of Education as part of the verification process. Once your FAFSA is approved, your file is sent back to our Financial Aid Office for transfer monitoring. This usually takes about a week and is a hold that looks to make sure a student is not set up to be paid at more than one school. Once you are cleared, your file is complete. If you are deemed eligible to receive a financial aid package, the award amount will appear in your mySierra account. The award shown is for the full academic year under the assumption you will take two full-time semesters (12+ units per semester).
- Why is it so important for me to submit the requested documentation for FAFSA verification?
Without completion of these verification requirements, a student is not eligible to receive free money for college. We understand these extra steps can be frustrating for students and families, but because federal financial aid (such as Pell Grant and Direct Stafford Loans) comes out of the federal government and taxpayers’ pockets, the Department of Education must ensure that students who submit a FAFSA are truly eligible. While loans do have to be repaid, federal loans are given without credit checks and without confirmation that the student will be able to pay this money back. This is a big risk for the federal government as the average amount of student debt for a bachelor’s degree is more than $37,000.
- What do I need to do if I’ve been selected for FAFSA verification?
If you have been selected for FAFSA verification, you will need to set up your account using the steps below:
- Log in to mySierra
- Click ‘Verify My FAFSA' under '2019-2020 Aid Year,'
- Enter/confirm your information to create your account
- Click ‘Register Account’
Once all your documents are submitted and accepted, your file will automatically be pushed through to our verification team for review.
- What financial documentation do I need to submit?
Students are asked for their financial information from a specific year. The specific year is usually two years prior to the start of the term year. For example, if you are completing verification for the 2019-2020 school year, the tax documents being requested are from 2017.
If you, the student, worked in the requested year, you will need to provide your W-2s and/or 1099s for that year. This would be the document sent to you by your employer at the completion of the year. Even if you only worked a few days, we will need that W-2/1099. If you are unable to locate your W-2/1099, you might try requesting a copy from your employer. If they are unable to send it to you, you can get a document called a “Wage and Income Transcript” from the IRS. You will need to order this as soon as possible as this document can take about four weeks for delivery.
If you, the student, also filed taxes that year, we will need an IRS document called a "Wage and Income Tax Transcript," which can be obtained by a few different methods.
If you are a dependent student (under 24), you will need to submit the financial documents described above for your parent. This will include step-parent if your parent has remarried.
- What financial aid forms do I need to submit for FAFSA verification and where do I get them?
Most financial aid forms are now available online. You will be able to fill out these forms under your Verify My FAFSA Portal. To submit IRS documents or other required items that are not forms from the Financial Aid Office, you will need to take a picture of them and upload them through your phone or computer.
If you need to submit any financial aid forms that are not available online, you will need to complete them at the Financial Aid Office in person.
- What if I just want the Tuition Waiver (CCPG). Do I still have to do FAFSA verification?
Verification is optional if you only wish to receive the tuition waiver. This means you do not need to do anything further once your tuition waiver has posted. However, we strongly advise students to complete the process even if they think they will not be eligible for Pell Grant. Completing verification ensures that should any changes occur in the financial status of your family, you are one step closer to a solution. It can also help clear any barriers to eligibility if you decide you need to take out loans to assist with unexpected expenses.
- I don’t qualify for Pell Grant, but I’m trying to apply for loans. Is it still necessary to complete FAFSA verification?
Students who wish to receive loans or keep this option open must complete FAFSA verification.
- When do I have to turn the documents in by for verification?
The sooner the better so you can begin paying your bills or expenses. We suggest turning in documents by June 30– before the Fall semester – to have your file reviewed and ready for the first disbursement (payment). Documents should be turned in the last day of instruction for the semester the student is hoping to be paid for. For example, you would need to have verification documents in by the last day of that semester (Dec. 14) if you wish to be paid for the Fall 2019 term.
Please be advised, files completed after the second half of the semester may experience delayed payment. Depending on completion date, the financial aid award may not be disbursed until after the add/drop deadline of the following semester.
- How long does FAFSA verification take?
Review times vary throughout the year and can exceed 6 weeks at the beginning of Fall and Spring terms. The verification process usually takes about 3 days and then the student must go through Transfer Monitoring. This is a hold that looks to make sure a student is not set up to be paid at more than one school. Transfer Monitoring takes 7 days. After this hold clears, a student will be set up for disbursement the Monday following the day they cleared Transfer Monitoring.
- When will I receive my financial aid money?
Students typically receive their financial aid funds about 3 weeks after their file is reviewed. Disbursements (payment) begin the Monday following the add/drop deadline of the Fall and Spring semesters (about the third week of every semester). Summer disbursements happen a bit sooner. As students become eligible through the verification process, they will be picked up for a refund during the next payment period. We typically run refunds for students every week.
Disbursement of funds happen on Mondays and take about a week to reach the account the student has designated though BankMobile. Disbursements typically happen every week during the start of a semester. As the semester progresses, disbursements happen less frequently. To ensure quick payment, we suggest completing verification and turning in your documents about 2 months prior to the semester start date to ensure your financial aid payment is not delayed.
- I already did a FAFSA for Spring and thought it was good for a whole year. Why do I have to do one for Fall?
Financial Aid years run from Fall through Summer. The FAFSA is labeled by years. The first year will be the Fall term that FAFSA is good for. For example, if you do the 2019-2020 FAFSA, that FAFSA will be good for Fall 2019 (starts August 2019) and will be good through Summer 2020 (ending June 2020.) If you start in the Spring your FAFSA will be good through Summer of that same year. A new FAFSA will need to be completed if you will be continuing school in the Fall.