Faaff-suh Verifi-CA-tion. Yikes. It sounds creepy. I'm just saying.
But it really doesn't have to be. It's actually a way to help you get the money you need to attend college. You want to graduate from college, right? A 4 year degree can make all the difference in your earning potential when you get out into the real world.
Now that really is scary. But back to this FAFSA Verification thing.
When you filled out and signed your FAFSA form, (did I mention FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid in case you were wondering), you did agree to submit additional information if requested.
And if you are selected for the verification process (we'll tell you in a minute how that can happen), the Department of Education requires that the school request any additional information they may need to make sure that the information that you've submitted on the FAFSA is correct.
The Department of Education? HUGE building about a 5 minute walk from the United States Capitol Building in Washington, DC. We don't mess around with what they say to do. They say verify, we verify.
So this verification business might seem a little bit picky, but remember, it's just a process. And remember we're on your side. We WANT to see you get your money so that you can attend college. It's one of those win-win situations.
So how do you get selected? The system that UNCG uses to process applications identifies the applications where the data doesn't quite match up for one reason or another. It could be anything. There could be a box that wasn't filled in. There could be mismatched numbers. The Application might have estimated income on it instead of the actual figure from the tax return.
It could be anything. But like I said, we're here to help you get it lined up and turned in. So bare with us.
To make fewer mistakes when you're filling out the FAFSA, you should always use either a completed tax return, or use the IRS data retrieval system to answer the income-related questions on the FAFSA.
But if you've been selected for verification and are wondering, Hey, what in the heck do I do now? Stay relaxed, work with the UNCG financial aid folks, and get to know UNCGenie. UNCGenie shows a complete listing of all of your outstanding financial aid requirements. If you're not acquainted with UNCGenie now is the time to make UNCGenie your friend. It is your lifeline while you're at UNCG. You can access if from the UNCG homepage at www.uncg.edu
You have to submit the documentation that is requested by our office as soon as possible. This kind of documentation may be stuff you have to take some time to locate, unless you're like, ULTRA organized, (man, I really wish I was better organized).
So take some time to find the documents that the financial aid office asks you to find. These can include but are not limited to:
- The UNCG Verification Worksheet. EASY, you can just print this one from the UNCG financial aid website at fia.uncg.edu
- Copies of IRS Tax Return Transcripts
- Copies of all W-2's from work (even if you did not file a tax return).
- If you're getting confused or frustrated, just stop, pick up the phone and call us. Like I said before, WE ARE HERE TO HELP YOU, just call us the FAFSA-MEISTERS. On second thought, don't call us that. Sounds like a test you get at a doctor's office.
OK, so here's the kicker. You can NOT receive financial aid until the verification process is complete. But you probably already figured that one out. And sometimes, even after you send in the information we asked for, we may realize things don't match up, or we have additional questions, or we need further clarification and we'll ask for even more stuff - It's all a process that we have to follow so work with us on this. Applying for financial aid can be confusing. We want to make sure that you get the right amount of financial aid.
REMEMBER, if you're getting frustrated, or if you're handing things in and things are still not resolved, pick up the phone and call us. There may be some disconnect but usually it's simple - for example, you're sending in your state taxes and we're asking for your federal taxes. Just call or email us and we'll sit down and figure it out.
Here are some important things to remember:
- Make sure the Verification Worksheet and the federal tax return have all the required signatures. Double check the forms - front and back - for signatures lines. We can't accept an electronic signature or an IRS e-file authorization. It has to be the real deal.
- Don't leave questions blank on the worksheet. Enter ZERO or N/A so we know that you didn't just accidentally skip over the question.
- You can use the IRS Data Retrieval tool to imiport tax data directly into your FAFSA. This way you do not have to submit a Tax Return Transcript to the Financial Aid Office.
The BOTTOM LINE is that THOUSANDS of students get their financial aid on time, every year, before classes start. If you do what we ask you to do, we will do our part and YOU...will...get...your...money.
Now that's starting to sound good, isn't it?