FAFSA Tips

Common FAFSA and
Verification Document Errors

At least 30% of all students who file a FAFSA will be selected for “verification.” If you are selected, don’t panic! It doesn’t mean you did anything wrong. However, if you are selected for verification be aware that an extra set of documents will be required from you. Of the students selected for verification, many complete the extra documents with errors and then need to update and resubmit them. Below are some tips to help you avoid common pitfalls.


FAFSA Tips

If you filed a tax return with the IRS, you may be eligible to use the Internal Revenue Service Data Retrieval Tool (IRS DRT) when completing the FAFSA. It is highly recommended:

  • It’s the easiest way to provide tax data.;
  • It’s the best way to ensure that your FAFSA has accurate tax information. 
  • If you use the IRS DRT (and don’t change any of the retrieved information in your FAFSA) you won’t need to provide tax transcripts if you’re selected for verification.

Go here to learn more: https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/fafsa/filling-out#irs-drt 

Note: If you are selected for verification this will also make the process simpler and may require less documentation from you.

  • You must use the name printed on your current Social Security Card.  
  • Read each item carefully—especially when you answer questions concerning household size, number in college, adjusted gross income, taxes paid, and marital status.  

Verification Tips

If you are selected for verification, additional documents will be requested from you. The requested documents vary by student, but several documents share common mistakes. Use the tips below to avoid having to submit documentation multiple times.

Verification Worksheet

  • The correct Verification Worksheet will be based on the dependency status on your FAFSA: 
    • Dependent Verification Worksheet should be completed and signed by both the student and parent. 
    • Independent Verification Worksheet should be completed and signed by the student and student’s spouse if married. 
  •  Complete the entire worksheet. 
  •  Pay CLOSE attention to section B, especially household size. Read the instructions carefully. 
  •  Only complete the appropriate sections. Some sections are mutually exclusive and some are based on the contents of another section, for example: 
  •  Mutually exclusive sections: 
    •  Complete section C1 TAX RETURN FILER OR C2 TAX RETURN NONFILER—not both. 
      •  Note: Complete C1 if you filed taxes. Complete C2 if you did not. 
  •  Sections that are required or excluded based on the contents of another section:  
    •  Dependent Verification Worksheet: Complete both sections B AND E ONLY if the child listed in section B is not listed in section E.   
      •  Explanation: The table in section E may not be used if you or your spouse is receiving child support. The parent paying support to someone else may not also claim to support same dependents in household. (Section E is only applicable for the 2017-2018 FAFSA.)
    •  Independent Verification Worksheet: Complete both sections B AND D ONLY if the child listed in section B is not listed in section D.   
      •  Explanation: The Table in section D may not be used if you or your spouse is receiving child support. The parent paying support to someone else may not also claim to support same dependents in household. (Section D is only applicable for the 2017-2018 FAFSA.)
  •  List only individuals in the household. Read the definitions provided on the form carefully. 
  •  Submit all pages on the same day. 
    •  You can upload these documents directly through the link on the Student Enrollment Portal (SEP) or the KU Portal (KUP). This will reduce the time it takes to process your documents. 
  •  Initial and date anything that you scratch out on the form. 
  •  Print, sign, and date with blue or black ink.

Independent Household Resources Worksheet

  • Complete this entire form.
  • Only complete the appropriate sections. Some sections are mutually exclusive, for example:
    • Complete section C1 OR C2—not both.
      • Note: Complete C1 if you filed taxes. Complete C2 if you did not.
  • Child support information (only applicable for the 2017-18 FAFSA and document version):
    • Check D2 if you paid child support.
      • In D2, list all names on separate lines with the child support paid assigned to each child.
      • Note: Do NOT list children who receive child support in section B (children can only appear in one section, not both).
  • Submit all pages on the same day.
    • You can upload these documents directly through the link on the Student Enrollment Portal (SEP) or the KU Portal (KUP). This will reduce the time it takes to process your documents and move to awarding financial aid quicker.
  • Initial and date anything that you scratch out on form.
  • Print, sign, and date with blue or black ink.

Student Tax Transcript

Note: If you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (and don’t change any of the retrieved information in your FAFSA) you won’t need to provide tax transcripts if you’re selected for verification.

Identity/Statement of Educational Purpose

  • This document is required to be notarized
  • The form cannot be edited after it has been notarized
  • Include a photocopy of identification.
    • A government issued ID
    • A copy of the same government issued ID that was provide to the notary and used in the Student Enrollment Portal must be submitted to Kaplan University.
    • Note: Cannot use military ID for they cannot be photocopied.
  • The form MUST be mailed (not email or faxed) to the Financial Aid Department in Chicago:
    Kaplan University
    Financial Aid Office
    550 West Van Buren, 7th Floor
    Chicago, IL 60607

Child Support Statement/SNAP (Only applicable for the 2017-18 FAFSA and document version.)

  • Complete form entirely.
  • Submit all pages on the same day.
    • You can upload these documents directly through the link on the Student Enrollment portal (SEP) or the KU Portal (KUP). This will reduce the time it takes to process your documents.
  • Initial and date anything that you scratch out on the form.
  • Print, sign and sate with blue or black ink.

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