FAFSA verification: no need to panic
Every year, the U.S. Department of Education selects a percentage of FAFSA applicants to have their information reviewed for accuracy. This process is called verification. Students selected for verification may have to provide additional documentation.
Students selected for verification will have to have their information verified by the Financial Aid Office before receiving federal financial aid. The office will request the needed documents through CougarMail, and students are encouraged to submit all requested documents as soon as possible. Following a review, a financial aid specialist will verify accuracy and submit any adjustments to the U.S. Department of Education.
Required documentation will vary for each student. Note:
- Students selected for verification are required to submit a Verification Worksheet, either as a dependent (which also requires a Parent Verification Worksheet), or as an independent filer.
- A tax return transcript is required if the IRS Data Retrieval Tool is not used when completing the FAFSA.
- An additional request for documents may occur following the Financial Aid Office review.
- Submit available electronic forms electronically—do not print and mail.
- Submit all requested information to avoid delays.
- When submitting additional documents, list your name, student ID and the phrase “requested information.”
The Financial Aid Office must confirm that the correct tax filing status is used on all tax returns, so students filing as “head of household” must document that they are eligible for this status. Be careful to submit only accurate information on all forms. If information conflicts with other information received, additional documentation will be required. The Financial Aid Office will determine whether information conflicts and the resolution of that conflicting information in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education. Document reviews take between 7 and 10 business days.
The most common documents required for resolution of conflicting information are:
- Income documents (W-2, 1099, schedule C)
- Asset form (form provided by Columbia College)
- Marital status (marriage certificate, divorce degree, documentation of separation)
- Documentation of child support paid
- Amended tax return
- Documentation of non-tax filing status
- Documentation of at least half-time enrollment status in a degree-seeking program for a dependent at another institution
- Additional documentation showing support of a dependent
Check CougarMail. The Financial Aid Office will use CougarMail if additional documents are needed. Submit all documents as soon as possible.
If you have questions about the status of your financial aid, contact FinancialAid@CCIS.edu.