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. The paperwork that needs to be submitted for verification is located at forms or for a complete list please visit the documents tab on your Financial Aid Online.
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.
NOTE: 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 email@example.com or 803-807-5036.
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 2011 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:
- You (or your parent) filed as married filing separately
- You (or your parent) filed as Head of Household
- You (or your parent) filed an amended tax return
- You (or your parent) filed a Puerto Rican or Foreign Tax Return
- Students or parents who have not filed or will not file a federal income tax return.
Note: Tax information filed electronically within the last two (2) weeks or submitted by mail within the last eight (8) weeks may not be available through the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
Three ways to request your Tax Return Transcript: by phone, online, or by mail.
Filing an Amended 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 803-807-5036 for CIU's Verification policies and procedures.