Approximately one third of FAFSA filers are selected for verification. A requirement of the U.S. Department of Education, verification is the process of confirming information submitted on the FAFSA. Students are responsible for submitting requested information to complete the verification process no later than 45 days before the last day of the student’s enrollment. However, federal student aid will remain estimated and will not be credited to the student’s account until verification is complete. Additionally, students awarded Federal Work Study may not begin employment until verification is complete.
Items to be verified include:
- Adjusted Gross Income
- U.S. income tax paid
- Number of family members in the household
- Number of family members enrolled in post-secondary schools at least half time
- Untaxed income
- Any other conflicting information
The following documents are those generally required to complete the process:
(Students are notified in writing by the Financial Aid Office of the documents needed to complete verification.)
- Student’s federal income tax return transcript from the prior year
- Parents’ federal income tax return transcript from prior year (for dependent students)
- Spouse’s income tax return transcript for prior year (for married independent students)
- Student’s W-2 form(s) from prior year
- Parents’ W-2 form(s) from prior year (for dependent students)
- Spouse’s W-2 form(s) from prior year (for married independent students)
- Verification Document
Effective the 2012-2013 year, students are encouraged to utilize the IRS data retrieval tool on the FAFSA as a part of the verification process. If students and parents are able to successfully download their tax information from the IRS into the FAFSA and submit with changes, the tax documents listed above will be waived and the verification document only is required. Upon receipt of the verification documents, the school will compare the information on the submitted documents with that on the FAFSA. If discrepancies are revealed, the school will make the corrections, which could result in a change in aid eligibility. The school will notify the student in writing of any changes in eligibility due to verification within one week of completing the verification process.
The school will cease processing federal student aid for students who fail to submit the required verification documents before the deadline.
If a student is selected for verification after federal student aid funds have already disbursed:
- The school will withhold all future disbursements of federal student aid until verification is complete.
- If verification results in the student’s ineligibility for aid that has been previously disbursed, then the student is responsible for repaying aid that he/she is not eligible for.
- The school will notify the student in writing requesting full payment of the overpayment of aid he/she is not eligible for.
- Any student in an overpayment status who fails to repay the overpayment or make satisfactory repayment arrangements will be reported to the U.S. Department of Education and/or to the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) and remain ineligible for further federal student aid until the overpayment is resolved.