What is Verification?

Verification is a process required by the federal government intended to improve the accuracy of the information submitted on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  About one out of every three FAFSA filers is selected for this process.  If your FAFSA is selected for verification, we cannot process financial aid for you until you provide us with the required information.

How will I know if my FAFSA has been selected for Verification?

You’ll be notified during the FAFSA filing process via your Student Aid Report.  We will also send you a letter in the mail containing a list of the information we need from you, instructions for completing the required steps, and any required forms you need to complete.

Why was my FAFSA selected?

We’re not completely sure.  The U.S. Department of Education uses a formula, which they do not share with colleges or universities, to select FAFSAs based on common data errors.  We do know that avoiding common errors and using the IRS data retrieval tool to provide tax return information are likely to reduce your odds of being selected.

What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?

We strongly recommend you transfer your tax return information electronically from the IRS to your FAFSA.  You can do this when you initially complete the FAFSA or later by returning to your FAFSA and making a correction.  Here’s a quick video about how it works.

What if the IRS Data Retrieval Tool doesn’t work for me?

It happens sometimes.  You may have amended your tax return or your parents may be married, but filed separate tax returns.  Alternatively, you can provide us with a tax return transcript.  There are four ways you can request a copy of your or your parents’ tax return transcript:

  • Get Transcript by Mail: Go to www.irs.gov and click “Get Your Tax Record.”  Click “Get Transcript by Mail.”  Be sure you request the IRS Tax Return Transcript and NOT the IRS Tax Account Transcript.
  • Get Transcript Online:  Got to www.irs.gov and click “Get Your Tax Record.”  Click “Get Transcript Online,” and either create or log in to your IRS account.  Be sure you request the IRS Tax Return Transcript and NOT the IRS Tax Account Transcript.
  • Automated Telephone Request:  Call 1-800-908-9946.
  • Paper Request Form:  Complete IRS Form 4506T-EZ or IRS Form 4506-T.

For 2019-2020 verification, be sure you request your 2017 tax return transcript!

What happens next?

Once you’ve provided all the requested information, we’ll review it to make sure it matches the information on your FAFSA.  If it doesn’t or if we have questions, we may follow up with you to make sure everything is accurate.  Once we have everything we need, we’ll make any necessary corrections to your FAFSA for you.  After that, we’ll prepare and mail your financial aid package.