What is Verification?
About 30% of all FAFSA filers are selected for verification by the federal processing center, which requires schools to collect documentation to check, or verify, the accuracy of the FAFSA information. In addition, the Mount may select an aid application for verification. If selected for verification, most prospective students will be awarded financial aid and they will receive a request for the required verification materials with their award letter. However, if in reviewing a new student’s FAFSA data, we are unable to make a reliable estimate of the student’s eligibility for financial aid, we will ask the student to complete verification before we create a financial aid award. All returning students must complete verification before financial aid will be awarded. Because colleges are liable for disbursements made prior to verification, it is our policy not to disburse funds until verification is completed. There are times when a student is selected for verification after a portion of his/her financial aid has already been disbursed. No further disbursements will be made until verification is completed.
How will I know if I have been selected for Verification?
Your FAFSA results will indicate that you have been selected for verification. In addition, we will mail a notice to each student selected with the required verification worksheet and any additional items that we know are required. We will give the student a time-frame for responding. Once verification begins, we may need to ask for additional documentation to clarify and resolve any inconsistencies or discrepancies we find. Our requests will be sent through the mail.
What information needs to be verified?
Based on the verification code that we receive with your FAFSA results, we may be required to verify some or all of the following data elements on your FAFSA:
• Adjusted Gross Income (parent and student, if the student is dependent)
• Taxes Paid (parent and student, if the student is dependent)
• Income Earned from Work (for non-tax filers)
• Certain Untaxed Income Items (parent and student, if the student is dependent)
• Household Size
• Number in College (excluding parents for a dependent student)
• Receipt of Food Stamps/SNAP Benefit
• Child Support Paid
• Any other inconsistent or conflicting information
What documents will I need to provide?
To verify these elements, we may ask for some or all of the following documents. Specific documents requested will be based on a student’s individual situation and the latest requirements of the US Education Department. (This is not a complete list).
• Unless the IRS Data Retrieval tool is used, signed copies of the prior year tax transcripts for both student and parent (if the student is dependent)
• Either a Dependent or Independent Student Verification Worksheet (downloadable from this web site)
• W-2s showing wages (parent and student if the student is dependent)
• Statement of child support paid
• Documentation of Food Stamps/SNAP Benefit
Important Note about Verifying Tax Information
The preferred way to verify your and your parents’ income is to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool which allows you to link to the IRS from the FAFSA and retrieve tax information directly from the IRS to populate the FAFSA tax return questions. Using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool simplifies the FAFSA filing/correction process and may result in quicker completion of the verification process. We can no longer accept taxpayers’ copies of their federal tax returns. Either a tax transcript from the IRS or your FAFSA filed using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool are the only two ways to verify tax data. If you do not, or cannot, use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you will be required to obtain a tax transcript from the IRS. After you have filed your taxes with the IRS, you should log into your FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov and make a correction to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to update your tax information. If you do this, you will not be required to submit a tax transcript.
To request a tax return transcript from the IRS, click here or call 1-800-908-9946.
What happens when verification is completed?
If any corrections need to be made to your FAFSA data, we are usually able to make them. Only in the event that we cannot make the correction ourselves will we contact you to go into your FAFSA and make the required change. Verification is complete when we have all the requested documentation and a valid ISIR (FAFSA results).
After all of the data is accurate and verified, students will be sent an original financial aid award package or if necessary, an amended aid award. Financial Aid will also be approved for disbursement at the next opportunity.
Is there a deadline for completing Verification?
We will send periodic notices and reminders to students selected for verification and typically ask for a response in two weeks. However, we will work with students to complete this process up to the federal deadlines.
A Pell applicant selected for verification must complete the process by the deadline published in the Federal Register. As of this writing the notice for 2013-14 has not been published but the deadline is expected to be September 26, 2014, or 120 days after the last day of the student’s enrollment, whichever is earlier. Campus-based and Direct Loan applicants must complete verification by this same deadline or earlier in order for us to certify loans for late disbursement.
Important Tips for Completing the Verification Process
• Complete the requested Verification Worksheet in full: Do not leave any questions blank. All questions must have an answer even if it is a "0". Be sure all required signatures have been provided.
• Be sure that you have used the IRS Data Retrieval Tool which allows you to link to the IRS from the FAFSA and retrieve tax information directly from the IRS to populate the FAFSA tax return questions. If you use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you will not have to submit tax transcripts from the IRS. You can log into your FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov and make a correction to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to update your tax information.
• If you do not, or cannot, use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you must submit the tax transcript from the IRS. To request a tax transcript from the IRS, click here or call 1-800-908-9946.
• We cannot accept e-file authorizations.
• If you will not and are not required to file taxes, be sure to submit all W-2’s to document earnings from work.