Frequently Asked Questions
Back to Frequently Asked Questions.
- How long is the FAFSA process?
Normal processing is approximately 6-8 weeks from the time the student submits a FAFSA to when any aid should be ready to disburse. Files that require additional documentation (correcting signature and other rejects, social security cards, selective service registration, file verification, etc) will take longer than the normal processing timeline to complete.
- Did we receive the FAFSA?
- Are there any FA-related items on the To Do List?
- What is “verification” and why was I selected?
Verification is a process whereby the information reported on the FAFSA is confirmed with tax returns and other documents. Since the FAFSA may be filed prior to tax filing, it is crucial that our office ensure that the information is accurate and that the funds are awarded only to eligible students.
The office participates in a Quality Assurance Program offered by the U.S. Department of Education. This program permits our office, using their software, to analyze our applicant pool each year and to identify those items and questions on the FAFSA that are most often answered incorrectly, such as “taxes paid vs. taxes withheld”. A random sample of applicants is selected to verify those items.
If you are selected, you are required to submit the documents required. Those are reviewed and when discrepancies are found, corrections are sent to the federal processor to recalculate the eligibility. It may result in a decrease in total aid, loss of the Pell Grant and other grant aid, or an increase in total aid and loans.
- How long does the process take before I get an aid offer?
- Best case scenario- the FAFSA is filed by early February and no corrections are needed, no missing documents are required once the data is received by our office, the student meets the Satisfactory Academic Progress- SAP requirements. The student should be notified in April. The process is clean and the application sails right through the process. The student is considered for all available funds.
- Worst case scenario- the FAFSA is filed in April or later, it is rejected or corrections are required by the federal processor (may take 4 to 6 weeks). The information is finally received by our office that reviews it and determines that there is inconsistent or incomplete information. We select it for verification and request a copy of the tax return and the verification worksheet (often takes the student 4-6 weeks to submit the documents). Staff compares the FAFSA with the tax return and determines that the income information is not accurate. Corrections are sent back to the federal processor to recalculate the student’s eligibility (2-3 weeks). Once the accurate information is returned to the office, an offer of aid can be made, after the student’s satisfactory academic progress is checked. If the student did not meet the SAP requirements, the application is denied. By this time, if the student has meet the SAP requirements, most grants (except Pell Grant) and work-study have been awarded to other students. The offer may consist only of Stafford Loans and Pell Grant, if the student remains eligible as a result of the corrections. Moral of this story- file early, file completely, file accurately and pay attention to your academic performance!
- What is the status of my verification?
- Check the To Do List to see if all items (verification worksheet, taxes, W2s, etc) have been removed. If not, then you need to submit those before the file can be processed. Tax extensions do not exempt the student from having to submit to submit copies of the tax return and the file will remain incomplete until all requested documents are received.
- Verification can take up to 3 weeks to complete due to the high volume of files sent in during the latter part of the summer.
- Where do I send my verification documents?
Documents can be faxed, mailed, or brought in to the Fin Aid Office. This information (including the fax number and address) is located on the verification forms and the instructions that are attached to the form online.
- I sent in verification documents, but they're still on my To Do List, were they received?
Students should allow at least five business days for documents to be logged in and updated on their To Do List.