Verification is a review process in which the Office of Student Financial Assistance determines the accuracy of various data elements reported by the student/parent on the student's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The U.S. Department of Education selects approximately 30% of all aid applicants for verification. During the verification process the student and parent's of dependent students will be required to submit documentation for the amounts listed (or not listed) on the financial aid application. The verification process ensures that eligible students receive all the financial aid they are entitled to receive and prevents ineligible students from receiving aid they are not entitled to receive.
Typically, students can expect to receive notification that they have been selected for verification within 10-to-14 business days after the Office of Student Financial Services receives the student’s FAFSA results from the federal processors. (Note: CIU will not start requesting FAFSA information from the federal processor until mid to late February) The Office of Student Financial Services will send a missing information email to students who have been selected for verification. The missing information email will direct the student to submit several required documents to the Office of Student Financial Services. They should be completed in their entirety, signed and mailed to our office within 30 days of your notification. You should not submit verification materials unless you receive a request.
Important: Please submit all requested forms and supporting documentation together at the same time. No processing can take place until all documentation is received.
Participation in the verification process is not optional. If the student does not submit the requested documentation, the student will not be eligible to receive federal or institutional need-based financial aid and the parents of dependent student will not be eligible to receive a PLUS loan.
Students selected for verification will not be packaged for financial aid until the Office of Student Financial Services has received all requested required documentation and the verification process has been completed. Depending on the time of year, the verification review process can take up to 20 business days from the time the Office of Student Financial Services receives all requested required documents. The process can take longer if additional nonstandard documentation is required. Individuals who have filed extensions or are self-employed and file their taxes later in the year are not excused from the verification process (please see below for more information). It is recommended that federal income tax returns be filed as soon as possible if selected for verification, since no aid or estimates of aid will be offered until the verification process is completed.
The following is a list of standard verification documents:
1. 2014-2015 Verification Worksheet (dependent).
2. All W-2’s for student and parent(s).
3. IRS Tax Return Transcript for student and parent(s).
1. 2014-2015 Verification Worksheet (independent).
2. All W-2’s for student and spouse (if married).
3. IRS Tax Return Transcript for student and spouse (if married).
If you used the IRS Data Retrieval process when completing your FAFSA and if you did not make any changes to that data, then you do not need to submit an IRS Tax Transcript or W-2's, you only need to complete, sign and submit the verification worksheet. Please review the missing information email for information specific to your status or contact the office if you have any querstions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Completing IRS Data Retrieval
To update the FAFSA with IRS Data Retrieval information, the parent and the student should go to www.fafsa.ed.gov, log in to the student’s FAFSA record, select “Make FAFSA Corrections,” and navigate to the Financial Information section of the form. From there, follow the instructions to determine if the parent(s) is eligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to transfer 2013 IRS income tax information into the student’s FAFSA.
It takes up to two weeks for IRS income information to be available for the IRS Data Retrieval Tool for electronic IRS tax return filers, and up to eight weeks for paper IRS tax return filers.
For assistance in using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, please watch this video tutorial created by the financial aid office at University of California Santa Barbara. Or please contact our office to speak witha financial aid counselor.
You or your parents will not be able to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool if any of the following apply:
How to Obtain a FREE Tax Return Transcript
If your FAFSA is selected for verification, and you did not use the IRS Data Retrieval option or you changed the IRS data, you will be required to request a tax return transcript from IRS and submit it to the Office of Student Financial Services. Personal copies of tax returns can no longer be accepted.
Three ways to request your Tax Return Transcript: by phone, online, or by mail.
Please make sure you request a Tax Return Transcript.
To order by phone:
· Call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040, then select the following prompts:
· Option 2 (Personal Income Taxes)
· Option 1 (Tax History)
· Option 2 (Tax Return Transcript)
· Enter and verify Social Security number (if joint return both SSN’s required)
· Enter and verify number of street address
· Press 2 for Transcript of Tax Return and indicate which year (i.e. 2012)
To order online:
· Click Order a Tax Return or Account Transcript located in the left-hand column
· Click Order a Transcript under Step 3
· Enter your SSN, Date of Birth, Street Address, and Zip Code
· Click Continue
· Select Transcript for Tax Year (i.e. 2012)
· Click Continue
A tax return transcript can be ordered by mail:
· Complete Form 4506-T (Request for Transcript of Tax Return)
· Mail to the address indicated on the form
Your transcript(s) will be mailed within 5 to 10 days from the IRS.
If you have ordered a Federal Tax Return Transcript and are experiencing difficulties receiving it in a timely manner, you may want to locate and visit a local IRS office to request one in person. The IRS provides a locator service here
Filing an Amended Tax Return
Students or parents who file an amended return cannot use the IRS Data Retrieval process. Instead, they must request a tax return transcript, but because that document only contains the information on the original return, they must also request a tax account transcript, which contains only the data that was altered. Both documents together can then be used to complete verification. If the tax filer chooses to order them on paper, she must use IRS Form 4506-T rather than Form 4506T-EZ.
Income Information for Tax Filiers with Special Circumstances
For an individual who is required to file a U.S. income tax return and has been granted a filing extension by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), we will need:
1. A copy of IRS Form 4868, “Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return” that the individual filed with the IRS for tax year 2012 or a copy of the IRS’s approval of an extension beyond the automatic six-month extension if the individual requested an additional extension of the filing time for tax year 2013.
2. A signed statement by a self-employed individual certifying the amount of the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and taxes paid for tax year 2013.
For an individual who has requested a transcript that lists tax account information for tax year 2013 and the IRS, a government of a U.S. territory or commonwealth or a foreign central government cannot provide or locate a transcript that lists tax account information.
1. A copy of the letter from the IRS, indicated that you have filed but they are unable to provide a tax return transcript
2. Copy of the return filed (translated into English if a foreign return)*
3. A signed statement certifying the amount of AGI and taxes paid for tax year 2012.
For an individual who has not filed and, under IRS rules or other applicable government agency rules, is not required to file an income tax return.
1. Completed verification worksheet including the non tax filer section.
2. The sources of income earned from work as reported on the FAFSA and amounts of income from each source for tax year 2013 that is not reported on IRS Form W-2.
*A tax filer who filed an income tax return other that an IRS form, such as a foreign or Puerto Rican tax form, must use the income information (converted to U.S. dollars) from the lines of the relevant income tax return that corresponds most closely to the income information reported on a U.S. income tax return.
Remember: The selection of an aid application for verification helps ensure the integrity of the federal student financial aid program. Prompt response to a verification request and completing the verification process will enable the University to quickly and fully disburse your aid funds.
Note: If verification becomes necessary after you are initially awarded, your previously awarded aid may be placed on hold until your file once again becomes complete.
Please contact Student Financial Services at email@example.com or 803-807-5036 for CIU's Verification policies and procedures.