FAFSA Verification FAQs – GradPlan


FAFSA Verification FAQs

Here’s what to do if you've been flagged for FAFSA verification

Disclaimer: Please note that there has been considerable updates to the FAFSA application and the verification process may have changed. The Better FAFSA opens December 31st 2023. Stay up to date with federal announcements and changes.

Why have I been flagged for verification?

About a third of FAFSA applications are selected each year for a review process called verification. The purpose of verification is to make sure there are no errors on your original FAFSA. Some of the most common flags include a recent change of address, inconsistencies between earnings reported on taxes versus what was reported on the FAFSA, and if your family did not file taxes at all for the tax year being reviewed.

There is no way to completely avoid getting flagged, some schools flag all of their students for verification and others simply choose at random.


Check Your FAFSA
Submission Summary

In your FAFSA Submission Summary, next to your Student Aid Index (SAI), there may be an asterisk* if you have been flagged for verification.


Check Your Email

After you file your FAFSA, you will receive a FAFSA Submission Summary from the Department of Education that gives you basic information about your eligibility for financial aid. You will also receive an email from each school that you’re accepted into.

If you don’t see any emails, here are some phrases to search for in your inbox AND spam:

FAFSA verification
Missing Documents
Action Required
Non-filing status

What to do if you are flagged for verification?

Determine which verification is needed

  • Each college may request different information and may have a unique process for verifying that information.
  • Make sure to read through the email from your school carefully.
  • You can also call your school’s financial aid office if you’re not sure what is needed.

Respond quickly

  • Often, the form you need to complete is in your college portal, or has been emailed to you. And..
  • There’s often a deadline, so work with your parent/guardian to get the necessary paperwork in as soon as possible. And…

Be sure to complete all paperwork accurately and provide required signatures before submitting.

Don’t wait to call your college’s financial aid office if you’re confused.

Common information that often needs to be verified includes:

  • The number of people in your household. Verify this by:
    • Listing out the people in your household, their names, ages, and relationship to you.
  • The income of the people in your household. Ways to verify income:
    • The IRS data retrieval tool or an IRS tax transcript (if your parent(s) filed taxes).
    • A copy of income tax returns can also be sent for verification (if you or your family filed taxes online – just login and print a copy).
    • Submitting a Form 4506T (if your parent(s) did not file taxes)
    • If you are unable to obtain a Verification of Non-filing Form, institutions can now accept a signed statement that you and your family have made a good faith effort to obtain the documentation and were unable to obtain it.
    • W-2s received from employer (if there was income earned from work)

Submit the necessary paperwork and follow up!

  • After you’ve submitted the paperwork, wait 2 weeks to see if your account has been updated.
  • If it has not been, FOLLOW UP by calling your college’s financial aid office. Don’t wait.
  • This is one of those issues that will not go away on its own and it will impact your financial aid, so prioritize getting this done right away!

Additional Resources

  • OneGoal’s FAFSA Verification Tutorial
  • For Chicago-based students: ISACorps Mentor! – The Illinois Student Assistance Corps is a talented group of recent college graduates who are trained to serve as near peer mentors to high school students across Illinois. These mentors have specifically been trained on FAFSA and verification. Search for your ISACorps Mentor by zip code!
Recommended Resources


Financial Aid

"Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today."

Malcolm X, human rights activist