Understanding the FAFSA Verification Process

The FAFSA, Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the federal financial aid form that students complete to apply for federal grants and loans.

If your FAFSA is selected for verification, we are required by the Department of Education to ask you to provide documentation to verify selected information you have entered on your FAFSA.  Being selected for verification doesn't mean you have done anything wrong in the application process. Reasons for being selected for verification can include: your FAFSA contains estimated information, was incomplete, inconsistencies were found or being chosen at random. 

Required Documentation

Required documentation will vary depending on the information we are required to verify. Typicallly, if a student's FAFSA is selected, the student/parent(s) must complete a specific Verification Worksheet and if they have filed federal taxes, have used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool or submitted a Tax Transcript from the IRS. (Copies of federal tax returns are not acceptable forms of documentation for verification.) Please check your financial aid online account to determine if we require you to complete verification documents and if we do, which verification form is required.  You may download required forms from your financial aid documents page or by selecting the appropriate link below. (If you select a form below, be sure to select the correct verification form required from you. Please check financial aid online first to determine which, if any verification form is required from you.) If your FAFSA was selected for verification be sure to complete the verification requirements in a timely manner so the determination of your eligibility for fiancial aid or the disbursment of your federal aid is not delayed. We also advise students to check financial aid online periodically as requirements may change.

IRS Data Retreival Tool

If you did not use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool when you filed your 2014-15 FAFSA, you may still do so.

  1. Login to to “Make FAFSA Corrections"
  2. On the FAFSA, in the Financial Information section, click “Link to IRS’”
  3. On the IRS website, fill out the form and click on “Transfer my tax information into the FAFSA”
You may find this brief IRS Data Retrieval Tool tutorial helpful.

You will be unable to use IRS Data Retrieval Tool if:

  • Your marital status changed after December 31, 2013
  • You filed an amended return - Submit a signed copy of your return directly to SFS
  • 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 SFS
  • The home address on the FAFSA does not match the address on the tax return


IRS Tax Transcript Request Process

Tax filers selected for verification and unable to use the IRS Data Retrieval must request a Tax Return Transcript (NOT an Account Transcript) of their 2013 tax return from the IRS in one of three ways.
1. Request one electronically on the IRS website:
Under Choice 3, click “Order a Transcript” and enter the requested information and continue. Then select "Return Transcript" for 2013.
2. Call the IRS at 1-800-908-9946 and follow the prompts to request a Tax Transcript for 2013.
3. File Form 4506T-EZ.

Note: For electronic filers, a 2013 IRS Tax Return Transcript may be requested from the IRS within 2-3 weeks after the return has been accepted by the IRS. The 2013 IRS Tax Return Transcript for those who who file paper returns may take up to 8-10 weeks to be available.

Changes to Your Financial Aid Package after Verification

We are required to resolve any discrepancies found during verification.  As a result, your financial aid package can increase or decrease after verification is completed.