Approximately 30% of all students that submit a FAFSA are selected for a process known as verification. Selection is made by the US Department of Education (ED) and can occur in multiple years if an applicant meets ED's criteria. If selected, a student will need to provide more documentation to the financial aid office before their application can go through the final review process or aid be disbursed.
The financial aid office is required to ask for additional documentation if, when reviewing a student's application, there appears to be discrepant information.
Required documentation is listed on the "Accept Award Offer" tab in the financial aid section of CyberBear. Where necessary, links to required forms are provided.
Individuals who filed an amended tax return, and individuals who are not able to access their tax information at the IRS due to an open case of identity theft, should contact the financial aid office for further instructions on completing income verification requirements.
Helpful Verification Information
IRS Data Retrieval Tool
As part of the verification process, students and parents may be required to submit their federal income tax return data to the financial aid office. The IRS Data Retrieval Tool allows users to transfer tax information directly from the IRS to the FAFSA. This information is then forwarded to the schools listed on the FAFSA, which in turn satisfies the requirement to provide tax data.
Note: If after using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool a family alters any of the income data, the data will be invalidated and a tax transcript will be required in its place.
Not everyone is able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool. The alternate way of providing the required data is to submit an IRS tax return transcript.
For Information on the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, refer to the IRS Data Retrieval/Return Transcript Instructions or see the video below.
IRS Tax Return Transcript
As part of the verification process, students and parents may be required to submit their federal income tax return data to the financial aid office. Those individuals who are unable to use The IRS Data Retrieval Tool will need to provide an IRS tax return transcript.
A tax return transcript is a record of the tax data in the IRS database, and as such is considered acceptable documentation. Photocopies of a 1040, 1040A or 1040EX are not acceptable.
For information on requesting a return transcript, refer to the IRS Data Retrieval/Return Transcript Instructions.
Tax Extension Filers
If an individual submits a tax filing extension their income information will not be available in the IRS database to satisfy the verification requirements. In such situations, a copy of the extension request (e.g. Form 4868), along with copies of all W-2 forms, should be submitted to the financial aid office.
If an individual is self-employed they will need to submit a written statement estimating their income, Adjusted Gross Income and taxes paid along with any W-2's if applicable.
To satisfy verification requirements, some individuals are required to confirm their identity. Students do this by bringing government ID, in person, to the financial aid staff in Griz Central.
Those students unable to do so (distance only students) or who want to satisfy the requirement before they arrive on campus, can do so by completing the Identity Verification & Statement of Educational Purpose. This form will need to be completed in front of a notary public and the original document, along with a copy of the ID presented to the notary, sent to the financial aid office.
For grant aid to appear on the bill as a pending credit, verification documentation must be submitted prior to June 15 for the autumn semester, November 1 for the spring semester and April 1 for the summer semester.
For the Federal Pell Grant, students have up to one hundred and twenty (120) days after they cease to be enrolled in the academic year to complete verification. If enrolled in the summer, verification must be completed by September 15.
Understand that completing verification includes the time required for the school to submit corrections to the federal processor. Students need to also allow time for the financial aid office to determine award eligibility.