Five Steps to Avoid Losing Out on College Loans, Grants and Scholarships After Applying for Financial Aid
Even in the best of circumstances, applying for college financial aid can be a difficult task. But many students find themselves confronted with an additional challenge—they are asked to submit verification documents to prove that they qualify for that financial aid money. It might seem like a lot to ask of anyone who has already filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)—a form with more than 100 questions about your family’s finances and demographics.
Still, 1 out of 3 FAFSA applications are selected each year for verification, an audit-like process to prove the information you provided is correct. Faced with those stiffer requirements, a growing number of students are failing to complete the verification process, which means they are losing out on financial aid they could have received, a new study finds. Many others may lose out on awards due to the lengthy vetting process. Here’s what to know about FAFSA verification and how to minimize problems:
- Double Check your FASFA – Make sure the information you provide is consistent throughout the application.
- Stay on top of communications – After you file your FAFSA, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the Department of Education that gives you basic information about your eligibility for financial aid.
- Prepare your Paperwork – Even if your odds of being audited are low, it makes sense to have your supporting documents organized ahead of time.
- Respond Quickly – If you do get selected for verification, don’t wait to respond. Every school has a different verification process, so check your student portal online to find out what you’ll need to provide.
- Get Help – If you are selected for verification and have questions, work with your school’s financial aid office. If you are a senior in high school applying for aid for the first time, talk with your guidance counselor.
Check out more information on how to maximize your FASFA return