Over the weekend of December 16-17, the Department of Education (ED) made adjustments to its 2018-19 verification selection algorithm, which should lead to a normalization in verification selection rates for 2018-19 FAFSAs processed after that time, according to verbal guidance provided to NASFAA.
After many schools reported sharp spikes in their 2018-19 verification selection rates when compared to the same time frame in 2017-18, ED investigated and determined that adjustments were necessary to bring selection rates back to a typical range, which hovers around 30 percent on a national basis but can vary by institution.
Besides causing administrative and workload issues for institutions, schools and college access advocates have reported that verification can deter many students from completing the application process.
ED is unlikely to re-process any previously processed FAFSAs, so applications that have already been selected for verification earlier will remain selected and must be verified unless one of the allowable exclusions under 668.54(b) applies.
Although the selection rates at many institutions will decrease enough so that the overall selection percentage for the 2018-19 year will end up similar to recent years, there are some institutions that have reported that, not even three months into the processing year, they have already seen more selected applications for 2018-19 than they had in the entire 2016-17 application year. To address this, NASFAA has asked ED to implement a verification cap, similar to what existed in previous years, whereby an institution would not be required to complete more verifications once it has reached a certain threshold. NASFAA has not received word whether ED will implement such a cap.
Publication Date: 1/4/2018