Department of Education Simplifies FAFSA Verification Process


The Department of Education recently announced changes to FAFSA verification aimed to help make the process less burdensome.

In lieu of IRS tax return transcripts and verification of non-filing forms, the guidance allows institutions to accept copies of signed income tax returns and written statements of non-filing from students who are selected for FAFSA verification. The changes are effective immediately and apply to both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 cycles.

Earlier this month it was reported that students were experiencing roadblocks to verification amid disruptions at the IRS; these new changes should help alleviate these roadblocks.

Last year, NCAN found that only 56 percent of Pell-eligible students selected for verification go on to receive a Pell Grant, compared to 81 percent of Pell-eligible students not selected for verification. The Department of Education selected over half of Pell-eligible applicants for verification in the 2016-17 filing cycle.

Learn more about how NACAC advocates for policies that would strengthen and expand need-based financial aid.

Julie Kirk is NACAC’s government relations manager. She can be reached at

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