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Verification Frequently Asked Questions

Read answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Get more information about your specific verification request.

  1. What is verification?
  2. Didn't I already fill this out on the FAFSA?
  3. Do I have to comply/fill out the forms?
  4. How do I send my documentation?
  5. I submitted the documentation, now what?
  6. How can I get information about my specific verification request?


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 send a letter to your permanent address if you have been selected for verification at Penn State.

Do not send any documentation unless we asked for it in writing

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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.

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Do I Have to Comply/Fill Out the Forms?

Once you have been selected for verification a hold is placed on your financial aid. You have 30 days to comply. 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. Furthermore, once the deadline has passed your financial aid may be canceled. 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)

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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/AddressProcessing Time
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

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I submitted the documentation, now what?

Monitor your Student Aid Summary Checklist. If you are a continuing student—or a new student who has full Penn State access—you can tell if we have received your documentation by monitoring your Student Aid Summary Checklist on eLion.

eLion messages are available only to students. Parents will not see the checklist on their eLion account.

At first you will see a message that states a letter will be mailed to your home address on record.

Student Aid Summary checklist before FAX is submitted (click to enlarge)

 After we receive your documentation, this message will change to say that we have received your documents but they haven't been reviewed.

Received Redux
Student Aid Summary Checklist after documentation is received (click to enlarge)

Once we have completed the verification review, there are two possible outcomes:

  1. If everything was completed correctly with signatures, the message on eLion will disappear
  2. If something was incomplete, unsigned, or if something requires further review, the eLion message will show that a new verification request will be mailed home

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How Can I Get Information About My Specific Verification Request?

On the bottom right hand corner of each page of your verification request is a letter code. In the image below, the letter code is "AFF01."

Example Letter Code
Where to look to find the letter code. Click to enlarge.

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