The Federal Verification Process
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the federal financial aid form that students complete to apply for all federal student financial aid.
If your FAFSA is selected for verification by the Department of Education, you are required to provide documentation that verifies the information you entered on your FAFSA. Reasons for being selected for verification include: your FAFSA contains estimated information or inconsistencies, was incomplete, or was selected at random.
Required documentation varies depending on the information we're required to verify. If your FAFSA is selected, you and your parent(s) must complete a Verification Worksheet.
Follow the "documents" link from the top left menu of the Financial Aid Portal to determine which verification form is required of you. If your FAFSA is selected for verification, complete the verification requirements as soon as possible so your federal financial aid can be finalized.
You and your parent(s) must provide documentation regarding income and tax filing status.
For 2017-18, if you or your parents filed 2015 federal tax return, you must submit a signed copy of your 2015 federal tax return to our office.
Non tax-filers must complete a non-filer statement indicating that they did not, and were not required to file a 2015 federal tax return.
For 2018-19, if you or your parents filed 2016 federal tax return, you must use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT) or submit a Tax Transcript from the IRS.
Non tax-filers must complete a non-filer statement indicating that they did not, and were not required to file a 2016 federal tax return.
IRS Tax Transcript Request Process
The IRS webpage Transcript Types and Ways to Order Them provides an overview of IRS transcript options and how to obtain them.
Tax filers selected for verification but unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool may request a Tax Return Transcript (NOT an Account Transcript) of their 2016 tax return from the IRS.
Independent students and parent non-tax filers selected for verification must request a Verification of Non-filing Letter:
The Verification of Non-Filing Letter provides proof that the IRS has no record of a filed Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ for the year you requested (2016). Dependent student non-filers are not required to obtain the Verification of Non-Filing Letter.
Note: Electronic filers may request an IRS Tax Return Transcript within 2-3 weeks after the tax return has been accepted by the IRS. Paper filiers may take up to 8 weeks after the paper tax return was filed.
Identity Theft Information: If you have been a victim of identity theft, you cannot obtain an IRS Tax Return Transcript until the issue has been resolved by the IRS. In the meantime, please provide a copy of the Transcript Database View (TRDBV) tax transcript to our office. You may obtain a copy of the TRDBV from the IRS by calling 1-800-908-4490.
IRS Data Retrieval Tool (DRT)
We stongly encourage students and parents to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. (Note: The IRS Data Retrieval Tool is unavailable for 2017-18, but is available for the 2018-19 academic year). If you did not chose the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when you initially filed your 2018-19 FAFSA, you can still utilize DRT by:
- Logging into fafsa.gov and selecting “Make FAFSA Corrections"
- In the Financial Information section of the FAFSA, click “Link to IRS’”
- At the IRS site, fill out the form and click on “Transfer my tax information into the FAFSA”
You will be unable to use IRS Data Retrieval Tool if:
- Your marital status changed after December 31, 2016
- You filed an amended return - Submit a signed copy of your return directly to our office
- You filed married filing separately
- You filed a tax return using a Tax ID Number (TIN)
- You filed a foreign tax return - Submit a signed copy of your return directly to our office
- The home address on the FAFSA does not match the address on the tax return
Your Financial Aid Package after Verification
We are required to resolve any conflicting information discovered during the federal verification process. As a result, the amount and type of your financial aid may change after the verification process is completed. You will be notified by e-mail to check the Financial Aid Portal ("awards" link) if there is any revision to your award.
This page was last updated on March 7, 2018.