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Frequently Asked Questions about Verification

Here are some answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) about what happens when you are selected for verification.

What is Verification?

Verification is a federal regulation that requires colleges and universities to verify the information provided by students and parents on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Colleges and universities have varying rules regarding who must be selected for verification. If you have submitted your FAFSA to multiple schools, they may have different selection criteria than Penn State. Just because one school has asked you to submit something does not mean that you should submit it to all the schools to which you have applied. We will notify you via your Penn State email if you have been selected for verification.

 

Didn’t I already fill this out on the FAFSA?

Yes, you did already answer these questions or provide the information on the FAFSA. Just like the IRS sometimes audits the information people put on their tax returns, verification is the Department of Education’s audit process, to make sure that people are filling out the FAFSA correctly.

 

Do I Have to Comply/Fill Out the Forms?

Once you have been selected for verification a hold is placed on your financial aid. Your financial aid will remain on hold until documentation is received, reviewed, and corrections are transmitted to the Department of Education. If you or your parent do not comply with the verification request, we cannot disburse your financial aid. Your aid may eventually be canceled if you do not comply with the verification request. If canceled due to non-compliance, there are no guarantees that we will be able to reinstate your financial aid if you later decide to comply with the request. All documents should:

  1. Be signed by the student and parent (if the student is a dependent)
  2. Include the student's 9-digit Penn State I.D. number
  3. Not have blanks— if the answer to a question is zero, enter the number “0” (zero)

 

How do I know if I have been selected? What do I do?

to do.png
To-do List (click to enlarge)

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Click more to open To Do List items. (click to enlarge)
We will notify you via your Penn State email if you have been selected for verification. You can find your verification prompts in the "To Do List" located within the Student Center in LionPATH (see image at left).

When you click "more" on the To Do List (right), you will open a screen with details on your verification request.

In order to open the verification instructions and form that needs to be sent to us, copy the URL on the page (highlighted below) and paste it into your browser's navigation bar.

This URL will send you to our website, where you will find instructions and a form to send to us.

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Example verification item (click to enlarge)

 

How do I send my documentation?

We are unable to accept documentation by email. Please send your documentation by FAX or U.S. Mail (not both).

Because we use a secure fax server to scan and review all incoming faxes, it can take up to 48 business hours for your fax to be received. Unless you receive an error message or a busy signal, we ask that you wait 48 hours before re-faxing or contacting us about your documents. Our fax server operates 24-hours/day and can receive documentation during off-peak hours, like evenings and early mornings.

Information to submit verification documentation
MethodPhone/AddressTimeframe until Documents are Received 
FAX Server 814-863-0322 48 business hours
U.S. Mail Office of Student Aid 314 Shields Building University Park, PA 16802 up to 5 business days

 

I submitted the documentation. How do I verify that it was received?

Click on the "more" within the To Do List to see details on the status of your verification documents. If you sent in documentation and we have received it, the item will appear as "received" as shown below.  Please do not send us multiple copies of your verification documents if we have already received them.

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To Do List details (click to enlarge)

 

How long will it take to process my verification documents?

Processing verification is a manual process, and may take several weeks. We appreciate your patience as we work through high volume processing times. Monitor your Student Services Center in LionPATH. When the verification process is complete, the item in the "To Do List" will disappear.