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UNK among other colleges impacted by surge in FAFSA verification requests

UNK among other colleges affected by surge in FAFSA verification requests

In an effort to minimize student loans, this is now the time for college students to submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

While it can be a headache for many families, some may now have to take an additional step.

"The FAFSA is a federally created document that is completed online, and it is the document that established eligibility for the majority of financial aid programs here at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, but also really throughout the country," said UNK Financial Aid Director Mary Sommers.

Many families say they find this process very stressful.

"There's a lot of information thrown at you very fast," said Annatte Brower who filled the application for her son.

However, Sommers said this year she's seeing more families hitting roadblocks as they have to submit for verification.

"So in those cases where the FAFSA has been selected for verification, the institution is notified, and it's the institution's responsibility to notify the student and let them know what it is to be done to complete the verification process,” Sommers said.

Verification means that the U.S. Department of Education has randomly selected a family to go through a process where they'll review your previous tax returns more closely.

"The issue this year is that the percentage of FAFSA's selected for verification, for our students and our perspective students here at UNK, has more than doubled. A year ago right now our FAFSA verification rate was running right about 18 percent. Now it's running at about 40 percent," Sommers said.

The University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) Financial Aid Office said the families selected for verification aren’t in trouble and it will not affect the student's admission.

"What we feel that has happened is something at the federal Department of Education, the federal administration that's responsible for administrating student programs. Typically, they identify certain parameters for applications to be verified," Sommers said.

All this means is those applying have to take an extra step.

"For us, it was fairly simple, it wasn't a problem, somewhere on the website you put your social security number, and some questions you have to answer," Brower said.

UNK's Financial Aid Office said they want families to know that if you need help or have any questions at all, they're here to help. They want to make sure this is an easy process for families.

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