January 2020
5 Tips to Help with the Verification Process
Has your FAFSA been selected for verification? If so, you’re not alone! Last year, almost 30% of Maine students were selected for verification. Being selected doesn’t mean you did anything wrong! However, you will need to provide the requested information to each of the schools you’ve applied to before you can receive financial aid.

Here are 5 tips to help with the verification process:
1. Complete and sign all forms on time!
Each school listed on your FAFSA will notify you of the required documentation and deadline for returning the information. You may be asked to complete a verification worksheet, provide W-2(s), and document income. Start collecting required documents as soon as possible! Make sure any items you turn into the Financial Aid office are complete, signed, and include your name and student ID.
2. Document your income (or that you have no income) .
If parent income was required on your FAFSA, your parent(s) will need to document 2018 income information. If you earned income in 2018, you may need to document that as well. Here are the ways you and/or your parents can document income information.

If you or your parents filed a 2018 Federal Tax Return:

  • Log into your FAFSA and transfer federal tax information using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT). For directions on how to use the IRS DRT within your FAFSA click hereOr
  • Provide a signed copy of the 2018 Federal Tax Return to the Financial Aid Office. Or
  • Submit a Tax Return Transcript from the IRS. To request a tax return transcript from the IRS, visit IRS.gov and click on “Get Your Tax Record” or call 1-800-829-1040.

If your parent(s) did not and was not required to file federal taxes, your parent(s) must request a Verification of Non-filing Letter from the IRS (click here for instructions). If your parent(s) try to obtain but do not receive a Verification of Non-filing Letter, a statement can be signed. Contact your school’s Financial Aid Office for additional information.

Schools will often require 2018 W-2s. If you don’t have them, contact your employer for a copy or request a wage statement from the IRS.
3. Check your email for any follow up requests for more information.
Once your school(s) begin reviewing your documents, the Financial Aid Office may contact you for more information. Check all of your college email accounts and student portal regularly. You’ll need to complete the verification process before you can receive your financial aid, so respond to all requests as soon as possible.
4. Even if you're not selected for verification, notify your school of any changes or "special circumstances."
The FAFSA uses income data from two years prior (for example, the 2020-2021 FAFSA required 2018 income information) and your circumstances may have changed. If there has been a large decrease in income, a divorce or separation, a death in the family, unusual medical expenses, or other issues that impact your family’s ability to pay for college, contact the school's Financial Aid Office. They won’t know about the changes unless you notify them and they will want a chance to re-evaluate your financial aid offer.
5 . Stay connected with the Financial Aid Office.
Financial Aid Offices work hard to keep students up to date. However it's a good idea to follow up with the Financial Aid Office to confirm that your paperwork was received or to ask whatever questions you have. It’s also good to ask when your financial aid offer will be ready so you can be on the lookout for it. Connecting using email works well so that you will have everything in writing to refer to later if you have questions.
Want more information on the Verification Process?
Join us for this month's FREE Wednesday Webinar:

Verification - Steps to Unlock Financial Aid

Wednesday, January 8, 2020
New Time: 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Realizing that their FAFSA has been selected for verification can be challenging for students and families. Being selected doesn’t mean the student did anything wrong, it just means there are a few more steps to complete before they can receive financial aid. Join us for our webinar “Verification – Steps to Unlock Financial Aid” to find out what is required, what students need to do to get the information, and how the process has recently changed so that you’ll have the information need to support students through this process.
For additional helpful information and resources, find  previous issues of 5 on the 5th on our website.

FAME's College Access and Financial Education Team:

Mary Dyer , Financial Education Officer
Maria MacDougal , College Access Counselor
Floreka Malual , College Planning Advisor
Nikki Vachon , College Access Counselor
Jessica Whittier , College Access Counselor 
Mila Tappan , College Access and Outreach Manager
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