What is Verification?
As part of the financial aid application process, some students are selected for what is termed “verification”. This means that we are requesting additional information to verify the information provided on the FAFSA. Not all students will be asked for the same information. In addition, the need to verify is assessed each year, so a student may be selected one year but not another. Or, a student may be asked to submit the same information each year. Either way, the goal is to have an accurate assessment of a family’s financial situation. Finally, at any point in the award processing, if we find it necessary, we may require additional information.
Students will be notified if verification documents are requested. New students will be initially notified by mailed letter and then once they have set up a Wheaton email account, by email to their Wheaton email account. Information will also be posted on the Wheaton Portal, the secure student portal. Continuing students are notified by email and on the Wheaton Portal. Notification is continued every three weeks until the requested information has been received. Students are responsible for sharing information requests with their parents.
Students must provide verification documentation prior to the last day of the student’s enrollment for Campus-based, Direct Loan, and institutional need-based aid. Verification documentation must be provided for Pell Grant applicants prior to 120 days after the last day of the student’s enrollment.
For maximum consideration of Campus-based and institutional need-based aid, verification documentation must be received prior to the annually established priority deadline date.
Consequences of not submitting verification information in a timely manner
Funds are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis according to the priority deadline, and awards cannot be processed until all requested verification items have been received (except for prospective new students who will receive an award estimate initially). Once all requested information has been received, awards are processed based on funding availability. If financial aid disburses after semester payment is due, students are subject to late fees and interest charges.
Timeline for Prospective Freshmen
February 15 is the priority deadline for the FAFSA. This is the deadline for maximum consideration for need-based Wheaton Grant funds. Before we can process an award estimate for a new student, the student's admission acceptance must have been finalized, and the FAFSA must have been completed. Please see "Award Estimates", below, for our policy on processing award estimates. Award processing for admitted applicants who meet these qualifications will begin late January-early February.
Timeline for Transfer Students
March 1 is the priority deadline for the FAFSA. Before we can process an award estimate for a new student, the student's admission acceptance must have been finalized, and the FAFSA must have been completed. Please see "Award Estimates", below, for our policy on processing award estimates.
We can process estimated financial aid awards for new undergraduate and fall transfer students selected for verification if they have completed the FAFSA and certain other requested items.
An estimated award may be completed before the following have been received: Data retrieval or tax return transcript, verification worksheet, and W2s for non-tax-filers with income. Our recommended deadline to submit these items is June 1.
If the above requirements are met, we will process an award estimate. Our goal is to have an estimate to the student in time for the student to make an enrollment decision by the Admission Office’s May 1 deadline.
Please note: All verification information must be submitted before a final award can be determined and before any funds can be disbursed. Also, the award may change depending on the final tax data and other verification information.
Timeline for Continuing Students
March 1 is the priority deadline for the FAFSA. In addition, we must have received all requested verification information by this deadline. Families should make every effort to complete the process as soon as they can.
Timeline for Application for Non-need-based Loans (unsubsidized Stafford, PLUS)
If a family knows that the student would not qualify for need-based aid but still wishes to apply for federal loans, they do not need to apply by the priority deadline. Instead, we suggest they apply by June.
Tip: To facilitate processing and eliminate confusion, any documents submitted should include the student's full name and student ID number.