The Student Aid Verification Process: What to Do and Why

When the Office of Student aid reviews your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), we may need you to clarify certain personal information through a process called verification.

What is verification?

Verification is the process by which the Office of Student Aid confirms the information you submitted on your FAFSA. Verification ensures that you receive exactly the amount and types of aid for which you qualify. This accuracy protects you and protects Penn State when aid records are reviewed by the Department of Education.

The criteria for selection are established by the federal government and Penn State gathers information according to these criteria as a condition for administering federal aid sources.

How do I know if I was selected?

If you are selected for verification, you will see a notice in your Student Aid Checklist in eLion stating that you need to submit documents to comply with the verification process. You can find your Student Aid Checklist in eLion by selecting “Financial” and then “Student Aid Summary” in the All Services menu. About two weeks later, you will also receive a letter with detailed instructions and any required verification forms. Your Student Aid Checklist describes the type of information you must provide and acceptable methods for submitting this information.

What do I need to do?

Be sure to keep your home address and other contact information up to date. Please also remember to check eLion, your postal mail, and your Penn State WebMail often for communications from our office.

If you have been selected for verification, follow the instructions on your Student Aid Checklist or verification letter. When you are ready to submit these documents, please be sure that your 9-digit Penn State ID number appears at the top of each page, and then fax or mail them as indicated on the verification letter. Your Student Aid Status (just below your Checklist) will show that the documents have been received and are being reviewed. If you fax your documents, please allow up to 48 hours for this confirmation of receipt. When your documents have been reviewed and verification is complete, you will no longer see verification-related messages on your Student Aid Checklist or Student Aid Status.

Please do not send any documents that we do not specifically request, and be sure to answer all questions – do not leave blanks, and include a zero when appropriate.

When do I need to do this?

If you are selected for verification, it is critical that you comply as soon as possible. The Office of Student Aid maintains a disbursement hold on your aid until verification is complete. After we receive your verification documents it can take several weeks for us to process them. If you fail to comply with verification by the end of a semester, you will not be able to receive need-based aid and will likely be left with a bill to pay out of pocket. If you are selected for verification after aid has disbursed, you must comply to avoid having your already disbursed aid sent back to the originating source. This would also likely leave a bill for you to pay out of pocket.

Contact

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your individual circumstances, please contact the Office of Student Aid for World Campus and Continuing Education at studentaid@outreach.psu.edu or 814-867-4244.

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