The U.S. Department of Education has waived verification requirements for most information required to complete the federal financial aid form for 2021-2022. The verification process typically requires selected applicants—typically between 15 and 40 percent of all applicants—to undergo an auditing process to verify that the financial information they submitted on federal financial aid forms is correct. (A separate Washington Post analysis of 2010 to 2020 data finds that students in majority Black or Hispanic neighborhoods, or who are Pell-grant eligible, are disproportionately likely to be selected for verification). Although this process aims at reducing fraud, it hinders low income and first generation students who may struggle to locate required tax paperwork or complete the complex forms without family or school support, thereby becoming ineligible for financial aid. Without this administrative burden, disadvantaged students have one less chance for falling through the cracks in the transition to college. #racialequity #education
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